Foreign Policy of an Islamic State
Before entering into discussion on the subject, I would like, to refer to two points. The first relates to our conviction that Islam is concerned with politics and has laid down the principles of establishing a State and governmental institutions and has legislated rules and laws pertaining to social life. Of course, this is already an accepted fact, and here we cannot substantiate it in detail.
The second point: Islamic government is based on a particular ideology and faith and is aimed to attain certain objectives made obligatory by God. The legitimate Islamic ruler and all officers of such a State are not free to choose and pursue any line in internal and external policy according to their convenience. They have to follow the rules laid down in the revelation and have to work in that framework.
In other words, firstly, they have to learn what Islam expects from them, and then they should translate the Islamic teachings into action for attaining the Divine objectives. At this stage they make use of the guide‑lines of the Shari'ah.
It is also to be kept in mind that they do not enjoy absolute freedom in reaching the desired targets; they should not violate, in any way, the Shari'ah. For instance, in the sphere of external policy, at the very outset it is to be ascertained if we have some responsibility towards the peoples of all countries, and whether Islam demands from us something in this respect.
Whether, as an Islamic Republic, we have Islamic interests in and commitments towards all other countries. If so, what should be our target? We should be aware of our aim in having relations with other countries, so that we may know. whether to maintain relations with a particular country or not. Keeping these points in view, we have to discuss some relevant issues and then arrive at the main subject.
The Prophet (S) of Islam was sent for all peoples of the world, and his Shari `ah was universal. It was not meant for a particular race or nation or any specific linguistic or regional group. The Qur’an declares:
قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ ۖ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ النَّبِيِّ الْأُمِّيِّ الَّذِي يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَكَلِمَاتِهِ وَاتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
“Say: `O people! Surely I am the Apostle of Allah to you all, of Him Whose is the kingdom of heavens arid the earth; there is no god but He; He brings to life and causes to die; therefore, believe in Allah and His Apostle, the ummi prophet who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him so that you may walk on the right path.'” (7:158)
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا كَافَّةً لِّلنَّاسِ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
“And We have not sent you but to all men, as a bearer o f good news and as a warner, but most men do not know.” (34:28)
These two verses clearly state that the Prophet (S) was sent to guide the whole humanity and was designated as a bearer of good tidings (bashir) and as a Warner (nadhir) as well. In some verses, it is said that Islam is a Din for the whole world, and shall ultimately prevail over all other religions. The Qur’an declares:
هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ
“He it is who sent His Apostle with guidance and the religion of the Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be averse.” (9:33)
And it further says:
هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا
“He it is who sent His Apostle with the guidance and the religion of the Truth that He may make it prevail over all the religions; and Allah is enough for a witness.” (48:28)
In some verses God promised to ultimately entrust the believers with the job of ruling the earth and that power would fall into the hands of Islam. The Qur’an makes this promise in these words:
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“Allah has promised those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them rulers in the earth, as He made rulers those before them, and that He will most certainly establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them, and that He will most certainly, after their fear, give them security in exchange. They shall serve Me, not associating anything with Me; and whoever is ungrateful after this‑those are the transgressors.” (24:55)
It is again asserted:
وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ
“And We desire to favour those who were oppressed in the earth, and to make them the imams, and to make them the heirs.” (28:5)
These verses indicate that a bright future awaits the true believers and the righteous, who would rule the world, and Islam would be the ruling force. The believers would be free of fear in the matter of worship and polytheism would be uprooted completely.
Of course, Islam did not and cannot spread on its own, it requires effective propagation and armed struggle (jihad). This responsibility was entrusted to the Prophet (S) and he strived to fulfil it to his best. God, in the Qur’an, says:
ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ
“Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and debate with them in the best manner ....” (16:125)
فَلِذَٰلِكَ فَادْعُ ۖ وَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ
“To this (the Islamic message) then go on inviting, and be as steadfast as you were commanded, and do not follow their caprices ....” (42:15)
According to these verses, the Prophet (S) is asked to invite people to embrace Islam with wise and appropriate methods of persuasion. Even in polemical debates he is advised to observe the best manners. In fulfilling this great responsibility he should be firm and not yield to the people's desires. The Qur’an says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ ۖ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ
“O Apostle, deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, ‑then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people ....” (5:67)
يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُ قُمْ فَأَنذِرْ وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ وَالرُّجْزَ فَاهْجُرْ
“O thou shrouded (in thy mantle), arise, and warn. Thy Lord magnify, thy robes purify. And defilement shun.” (74:1‑5)
وَلَا يَصُدُّنَّكَ عَنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ بَعْدَ إِذْ أُنزِلَتْ إِلَيْكَ ۖ وَادْعُ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ ۖ وَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
“And let them not turn you aside from communicating the signs of Allah revealed to you. And invite [the people] to your Lord and be not of the polytheists.” (28:87)
These verses impel the Prophet (S) to communicate the Words of God without any fear, as God will protect him. A glance into the books of history and biographies of the Prophet (S) (Sirah) reveals what endeavors the Prophet (S) undertook in propagating Islam and guiding the people and fighting the polytheists and idol worshippers for the sake of spreading the belief in Unity of God (tawhid).
On every opportunity he addressed the people, individually and collectively, and invited them to Islam with the force of his argument and exhortation.
Occasionally he visited cities and towns with this purpose. He sent some of his Companions to recite the Qur’an to the people and to guide them properly. He wrote letters to the rulers of many countries and invited them to embrace Islam.' It was through preaching and invitation that Islam gradually spread. Not only the Prophet (S) was made responsible for spreading and propagating Islam, but also all the believers were held responsible for the propagation of its message. and teachings. God says in the Qur’an:
قُلْ هَٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي ۖ وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
“Say: `This is my way; I call to Allah with sure knowledge, I and those who follow me. To Allah be glory! And I am not one of the polytheists.” (12:108)
It is emphasized in this verse that the followers of the Prophet (S) would continue his mission, irrespective of the fact that they belong to the age of the Prophet (S) or any later age. The committed Muslims in the course of performing this Divine mission had to suffer all kinds of hardships; they were tortured, imprisoned and even assassinated, but never gave up. Without such effort of Muslims, Islam would not have emerged victorious.
As a matter of principle the Qur’an makes it obligatory for all Muslims to command people to act rightly and enjoin what is sanctioned by God (al‑'amr bi al‑maruf) and to forbid them from evil (al‑nahy `an al‑munhar).
وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
And from among you there should be a party who commands to do good and enjoins what is right and forbids the wrong, and they are the successful. (3:104)
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ ۗ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم ۚ مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
You are the best of communities raised up (or mankind; you enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. And if the People of the Book had believed, it would have been better for them; of them are believers and most of them are evil‑doers. (3:110)
The propagation of Islam is an essential part of the Divine duty of `commanding to do good and forbidding evil' (al‑'amr bi al‑ma'ruf wa al‑nahy `an al‑munkar).
It is one of the duties of Muslims to propagate the faith in Unity of God (tawhid) and to fight against infidelity, idolatry, and materialism. Every country where an Islamic government is in power is obliged to endeavor in this regard and to strive in every possible way, to spread the Islamic message in other countries.
It is the duty of the Islamic government to give top priority to the program of Islamic propagation through radio, television, journals, and newspapers, and to utilize all the means of mass communication for this purpose. Distribution of Islamic books and cultural and academic exchange programs along with other means of propagation are also useful in this respect. An Islamic government cannot afford laxity with regard to this important obligation; it has to include such programs in its foreign policy.
The second duty made obligatory for Muslims is waging war against all forms of oppression, exploitation, and corruption, defending the deprived and the oppressed, and establishing social justice. The Qur’an says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا ۚ اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
“O believers, be you securers of justice, witnesses for God. And let not detestation for a people incite you to act inequitably; act equitably‑that is nearer to God‑fearing. And fear God; surely God is aware of what you do.” (5: 8)
لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ وَرُسُلَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ
“Certainly We sent Our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance that men may conduct themselves with justice; and We have made the iron, wherein is great strength and advantage for men, and that Allah may know who helps Him and His apostles in the secret; surely Allah is Strong, Mighty.” (57:25)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ ۚ إِن يَكُنْ غَنِيًّا أَوْ فَقِيرًا فَاللَّهُ أَوْلَىٰ بِهِمَا ۖ فَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا الْهَوَىٰ أَن تَعْدِلُوا ۚ وَإِن تَلْوُوا أَوْ تُعْرِضُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
“O believers, be maintainers of justice, bearers of witness for God's sake, even though it be against yourselves, or [your] parents or kinsfolk, whether the man be rich or poor; God is over and above them [in preference]. Therefore don't follow [your] base desires, lest you deviate, and if you swerve or turn aside, then surely God is aware of what you do.” (4:135)
The believers are required to see that equity and justice are established and that they are not afraid of any power in this matter. One of the aims of the prophets has been to enforce social justice, and in the course of attaining this objective they even took up arms.
Muslims are responsible for the defence of the deprived, the wronged, and the oppressed of the world at every cost, and if, in the extreme cases, there is no other way except war, they ought to fight valiantly. God declares in the Qur’an:
وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا
“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, who say: `Our Lord, bring us forth from this city, whose people are oppressors, and appoint to us from Thee a guardian, and appoint to us from Thee a helper'?” (4:75)
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ الطَّاغُوتِ فَقَاتِلُوا أَوْلِيَاءَ الشَّيْطَانِ ۖ إِنَّ كَيْدَ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا
“These who believe fight in the way of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of Taghut. Fight you therefore against the friends of Satan; surely the guile of Satan is ever feeble.” (4:76)
According to this verse, holy war (jihad) for the sake of the oppressed is regarded as a commendable human virtue, and this view is affirmed by those who are socially aware. Waging war for the sake of God is one of the symptoms of faith (Iman) and struggle in the way of the evil forces (taghut) is indicative of one's infidelity (kufr) to God. Again, the Qur’an says:
وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّىٰ لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِلَّهِ ۖ فَإِنِ انتَهَوْا فَلَا عُدْوَانَ إِلَّا عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ
“And fight them until fitnah (sedition, discord, persecution, corruption) is no more, and until the religion of God prevails. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against the oppressors.” (2:193)
This verse, too, underlines the responsibility of Muslims towards the oppressed. They have to struggle and fight till persecution and corruption is eliminated from the face of the earth and the Divine law (al‑Din) is established. Accordingly, Muslims cannot rest till evil is eradicated from the world. As you see the Qur’an has saddled Muslims with a heavy responsibility of fighting tyranny, corruption, exploitation, and colonialism, and defending the oppressed and the exploited, so that the rule of Divine justice is established.
This Divine objective is to be attained by all the possible means: by educating and awakening the oppressed, by the way of exhortation, by exposing the evil designs of the oppressors and exploiters, by warning and overwhelming the transgressors, by diplomatic and political activities, by supporting all the freedom movements; and ultimately, if all attempts fail, one has to resort to war in case the necessary resources are at hand.
It is the duty of every Muslim to struggle against all forms of tyranny and injustice, whether in their own country or in a foreign land, till they are totally destroyed. This Divine mission is to be kept in view while framing the foreign policy, and the best way of pursuing it, in accordance with specific conditions of different lands and times, should be adopted. But in any case it should be ensured that the main objective ever remains in sight.
An Islamic government ought to function in such a manner that throughout the world it is identified as the staunch opponent of tyranny, arrogance, disbelief, and materialism, as the sincere defender of the deprived and the oppressed, as the standard bearer of Divine Unity and guidance, and as the vanguard of the forces enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.
As an ummah entrusted with upholding justice, it has to provide leadership to all the movements struggling for independence in the world. It should set an example for the world of all the material and spiritual merits and human attainments.
We propose to discuss a number of issues in this part of our discussion:
Islam considers all Muslims as one ummah:
وَإِنَّ هَٰذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاتَّقُونِ
“And surely this ummah (community) of yours is one ummah, and I am your Lord, and be dutiful to Me.” (23:52)
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا
“And thus We have made you a midmost nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people, and that the Apostle may be a bearer o f witness to you; ....” (2:143)
The criterion of the unity of Muslims is nothing but faith and conviction, and they belong to nothing but Islam. Hence the differences related to racial, national, linguistic, regional, urban, and rural distinctions cannot and should not divide Muslims and alienate them from one another.
Among Muslims a deep‑rooted feeling of oneness exists that binds them together and they live like an integrated whole and foster brotherly feeling for one another. The Qur’an stresses this brotherly relationship in the following words:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
“The believers are but brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren and be God‑fearing that mercy may be showed to you.” (49:10)
In Islam there are no multiple communities; there is only one ummah. They strive for one and the same goal. All Muslims are one ummah against their common enemy, i.e. the global pagan system.
Islam as an integrated system of religious, moral, political, social, cultural and economic regulations is a perfect and comprehensive system, that has an independent culture which emanates from the source of revelation (wahy).
It upholds a specific world‑view with an emphasis on developing and perfecting human virtues and considers it to be the basis of all its programs, and on this foundation constructs all the social structures and superstructures. Islam is a rich and independent culture which is essentially based on revelation.
It was a result of assimilating this rich and independent culture that in the early period of Islam Muslims could make remarkably fast advancements in various spheres of civilization. This rich culture of Islam dawned in al Hijaz and brought into existence, by revitalizing the human virtues and abilities, an ummah, small in number but immensely energetic and powerful in spirit.
It gradually grew, spread and attracted various societies, peoples, and races towards itself. In a short time its light reached and engulfed the distant points of the earth. The vitalizing teachings of the Qur’an and its cultural independence generated and released light on such a scale that it illuminated each and every spot, penetrated the innermost depths of the soul and gave refuge to all men in its warm embrace.
The rich and humanizing culture of Islam bestowed freedom and independence upon its followers to such an extent that they acted for a long time as the torch‑bearers of civilization, knowledge, arts and sciences. A great number of the works of Muslims in the fields of arts and sciences are still alive and bear witness to this fact. In conceiving and executing its programs Islam does not derive inspiration from any other school of thought, hence Muslims are not required to follow any other ideology.
Therefore, a government can be called Islamic in case it endeavors to safeguard the independence of the Islamic Ummah, and if all its plans and programs are derived from no other source except the school of Divine revelation. It organizes all its internal and external policies on the lines which ensure self‑sufficiency of the Islamic Ummah, as a whole, in the spheres of science, industry, technology, economics, agriculture and military arms, and liberates it from the shackles of foreign alliances and dependence on alien powers.
Such a policy demands independent thinking based on the Islamic ideology and a staunch resolution to implement this policy. All the planning of the Islamic government must be conceived in strict adherence to the Islamic teachings with a view to protecting and strengthening the independence of the Muslim Ummah. If a government fails to give foremost priority to these objectives in its internal and external policies, it does not deserve to be called `Islamic' in any sense of the word.
Islam has paid due attention to the independence of the Muslim Ummah, and for this very reason it has suggested certain measures to prevent any kind, of alien interference in the internal affairs of an Islamic State on the part of the non‑Muslims. The Qur’anic imperatives are categorical in this regard.
In some of the Qur’anic verses the evil designs and targets of the plotting unbelievers are fully exposed, so that Muslims should not he deceived by their hypocritical attitude. They also suggest how this challenge should be met. A few relevant verses are quoted here:
مَّا يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَلَا الْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ
“The unbelievers of the People of the Book (the Jews and the Christians) and the idolaters do not like that any good should be sent down to you from your Lord, and God chooses especially whom He pleases for His mercy, and God is of bounty abounding.” (2:105)
إِن تَمْسَسْكُمْ حَسَنَةٌ تَسُؤْهُمْ وَإِن تُصِبْكُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ يَفْرَحُوا بِهَا ۖ وَإِن تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا لَا يَضُرُّكُمْ كَيْدُهُمْ شَيْئًا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ
“If you are visited with good fortune it vexes them, and if an evil afflicts you, they rejoice at it. Yet if you are patient and God‑fearing, their evil designs will not harm you in any way; God encompasses the things they do.” (3:120)
وَدَّ كَثِيرٌ مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ لَوْ يَرُدُّونَكُم مِّن بَعْدِ إِيمَانِكُمْ كُفَّارًا حَسَدًا مِّنْ عِندِ أَنفُسِهِم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الْحَقُّ ۖ فَاعْفُوا وَاصْفَحُوا حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَ اللَّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“Many of the People of the Book wish that they might restore you as unbelievers, after you have believed, in the jealousy of their souls after the truth has become manifest to them; yet do you pardon and forgive, till God brings His command; truly God is powerful over everything.” (2:109)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن تُطِيعُوا فَرِيقًا مِّنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ يَرُدُّوكُم بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ كَافِرِينَ
“O believers, if you obey a sect of those who have been given the Book, they will turn you after you have believed, into unbelievers.” (3:100)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن تُطِيعُوا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يَرُدُّوكُمْ عَلَىٰ أَعْقَابِكُمْ فَتَنقَلِبُوا خَاسِرِينَ بَلِ اللَّهُ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ النَّاصِرِينَ
“O believers, if you obey the unbelievers they will turn you upon your heels, so that you turn back losers. No; but God is your Protector and He is the best of helpers.” (3:149‑150)
فَبِمَا نَقْضِهِم مِّيثَاقَهُمْ لَعَنَّاهُمْ وَجَعَلْنَا قُلُوبَهُمْ قَاسِيَةً ۖ يُحَرِّفُونَ الْكَلِمَ عَن مَّوَاضِعِهِ ۙ وَنَسُوا حَظًّا مِّمَّا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ ۚ وَلَا تَزَالُ تَطَّلِعُ عَلَىٰ خَائِنَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنْهُمْ ۖ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاصْفَحْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
“So for their breaking their covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard; they pervert words from their meanings; and they have forgotten a portion of what they were reminded of; and you shall always discover treachery in them excepting a few of them. Yet pardon them, and forgive; surely Allah loves the good‑doers.” (5:13)
وَلَن تَرْضَىٰ عَنكَ الْيَهُودُ وَلَا النَّصَارَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ ۗ وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءَهُم بَعْدَ الَّذِي جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ ۙ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ
“Never will the Jews be pleased with you, neither the Christians, not till you follow their religion. Say: “Surely God's guidance is the [only] true guidance.” And if you follow their caprices after the knowledge that has come to you, you shall have against God neither protector nor helper.” (2:120)
كَيْفَ وَإِن يَظْهَرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ لَا يَرْقُبُوا فِيكُمْ إِلًّا وَلَا ذِمَّةً ۚ يُرْضُونَكُم بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَتَأْبَىٰ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَأَكْثَرُهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ اشْتَرَوْا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا فَصَدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ سَاءَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ لَا يَرْقُبُونَ فِي مُؤْمِنٍ إِلًّا وَلَا ذِمَّةً ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُعْتَدُونَ
“How can it be? If they get the better of you, they will not observe towards you any bond or treaty, giving you satisfaction with their mouths while their hearts do not consent; and most of them are transgressors. They have sold the signs o f God for a small price, and have barred from His way; surely evil is that they have been doing, observing neither bond nor treaty towards a believer; they are the transgressors.” (9:8‑10)
هَا أَنتُمْ أُولَاءِ تُحِبُّونَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِبُّونَكُمْ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْكِتَابِ كُلِّهِ وَإِذَا لَقُوكُمْ قَالُوا آمَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَوْا عَضُّوا عَلَيْكُمُ الْأَنَامِلَ مِنَ الْغَيْظِ ۚ قُلْ مُوتُوا بِغَيْظِكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ
“Ha, there you are; you love them while they love you not; you believe in the Book, all of it, and when they meet you they say, `We believe,' and when they go privily, they bite at you their fingers. Say: Die in your rage;' surely God knows what is in the hearts.” (3:119)
وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ إِلَّا تَفْعَلُوهُ تَكُن فِتْنَةٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَفَسَادٌ كَبِيرٌ
“As for the unbelievers, they are friends one of another. Unless you do this, there will be persecution an the earth and great corruption.” (8:73)
These verses disclose the evil motives, secret designs, and the essential characteristics of the unbelievers, some of which are given below:
1. If any good fortune comes to you, the unbelievers and polytheists are unhappy, for they do not like to see you benefited from anything. They are happy if some misfortune befalls you.
2. The unbelievers nurture jealousy for you and wish to turn you back from your faith.
3. If you obey the unbelievers they would make you give up your faith.
4. The unbelievers are dishonest in dealings with you, and you ought to be always aware of their evil intentions.
5. The Jews and the Christians shall never accept you unless you embrace their faith.
6. Their pacts and covenants are unreliable. If they find means of subordinating you, they will violate all the treaties and compacts that they earlier signed with you.
7. The unbelievers shall never be friendly with you, even though you treat them as friends.
8. The unbelievers are united in friendship against you and shall cooperate with one another to inflict losses on you.
God, the Almighty, has warned Muslims of the malice, enmity, dishonesty, and subversive nature of the unbelievers so that Muslims may be conscious of the fact that they can never be trusted as friends and well‑wishers. It is imperative to keep them at a distance and to strengthen your defences.
God places great emphasis on the defence of the freedom and independence of Islam against the dangers posed by the evil plots of its enemies. After enumerating some of the characteristics of the unbelievers and their evil objectives, God warns Muslims of the dangers of being friendly with them, placing reliance on them, and against surrendering their resources and powers to them.
He warns them against following the unbelievers and thus directly or indirectly helping them in realizing their objectives. The Islamic State should not form friendly alliances with the unbelievers, nor are their covenants to be fully trusted. Some Qur’anic verses in this context may be referred to:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا بِطَانَةً مِّن دُونِكُمْ لَا يَأْلُونَكُمْ خَبَالًا وَدُّوا مَا عَنِتُّمْ قَدْ بَدَتِ الْبَغْضَاءُ مِنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَمَا تُخْفِي صُدُورُهُمْ أَكْبَرُ ۚ قَدْ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
“O believers, take not for your intimates outside yourselves; such men spare nothing to ruin you; they yearn for you to suffer. Hatred has already shown itself of their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is yet greater. Indeed, We have made Our signs clear to you, if you understand them.” (3:118)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۘ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ مِنْهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
“O believers, do not take the Jews and Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, he is one of them. Surely God does notguide the evildoers.” (5:51)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا دِينَكُمْ هُزُوًا وَلَعِبًا مِّنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَالْكُفَّارَ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
“O believers, do not take for guardians those who take your religion for a mockery and a joke, from among those who were given the Book before you and the unbelievers; and fear God, if you are believers.” (5:57)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا عَدُوِّي وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاءَ تُلْقُونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَقَدْ كَفَرُوا بِمَا جَاءَكُم مِّنَ الْحَقِّ يُخْرِجُونَ الرَّسُولَ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۙ أَن تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ رَبِّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ خَرَجْتُمْ جِهَادًا فِي سَبِيلِي وَابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِي ۚ تُسِرُّونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَأَنَا أَعْلَمُ بِمَا أَخْفَيْتُمْ وَمَا أَعْلَنتُمْ ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْهُ مِنكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ
“O believers, do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends; would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the Truth, expelling the Apostle and yourselves because you believe in God, your Lord? If you go forth to struggle in My path and seek My good pleasure, would you show love for them in secret? And I know what you conceal and what you manifest, and whoever of you does this, he indeed has gone astray from the straight path.” (60:1)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۚ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَن تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَانًا مُّبِينًا
“O believers, do not take the unbelievers for friends rather than the believers, do you desire that you should give to Allah a manifest proof against yourselves?” (4:144)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَوَلَّوْا قَوْمًا غَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ قَدْ يَئِسُوا مِنَ الْآخِرَةِ كَمَا يَئِسَ الْكُفَّارُ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ الْقُبُورِ
“O believers, do not make friends with a people with whom God is wroth; indeed they despair of the Hereafter as the unbelievers despair of those in graves.” (60:13)
لَّا يَتَّخِذِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَيْسَ مِنَ اللَّهِ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلَّا أَن تَتَّقُوا مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً ۗ وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ ۗ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ الْمَصِيرُ
“Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; for whoso does that belongs not to God in anything, unless you have a fear of them. God warns you that you beware of Him, and unto God is the eventual coming.” (3:28)
In addition to the traits of the unbelievers enumerated earlier the following can also be inferred from the verses quoted above:
1. The unbelievers nurture malice towards the believers and do not spare anything for harming them in any possible way.
2. Their enmity of Muslims finds expression in what they say, but the intensity of their unexpressed enmity, hidden in their hearts, is far greater.
3. They can never accept your religion and they make fun of it.
4. They are enemies of Muslims and of God, and do not accept the Qur’anic teachings.
God, after warning us of the characteristics of the unbelievers, makes it explicit that they are not well‑wishing friends of the believers and the believers should not consider them as their friends, guardians, and defenders, and should not reveal their secrets to them. They are untrustworthy and so are their pacts and promises.
The Muslims should not allow them to plan on their behalf and to decide for them. They should not let the unbelievers take charge of their institutions and decide their policies and execute their programs, and they should not let themselves be deceived by their apparently well‑wishing but inwardly injurious suggestions.
This point is repeatedly stressed, and finally it is declared that a Muslim who males any pact of friendship and alliance with the unbelievers ceases to be one of the Islamic Ummah and the Party of God.
وَلَوْ كَانُوا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالنَّبِيِّ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَا اتَّخَذُوهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءَ وَلَٰكِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ
“And had they believed in God and the Prophet (S) and what was revealed to him, they would not have taken them (the unbelievers) for friends, but most of them are transgressors.” (5:81)
لَّا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ
“You shall not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day befriending those who act in opposition to Allah and His Apostle, even though they were their [own] fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kinsfolk.” (58:22)
In these Qur’anic verses the basic guide‑lines of an Islamic government's external policy in relation to the countries having no faith in God is clearly and explicitly laid down. Muslims are categorically commanded to guard and defend their independence and freedom, and not let the unbelievers to infiltrate and interfere in their internal affairs.
Muslims are asked to be on guard against them. All relations and pacts which would ultimately lead to the increasing influence and domination of unbelievers over the affairs of Muslims are illegitimate and must be abstained from. The Qur’anic injunction in this regard is not only clear but also categorical:
...وَلَن يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ سَبِيلًا
“... And Allah will by no means give the unbelievers a way against the believer‑s [to dominate them].” (4:141)
The Qur’an by forbidding allegiance to unbelievers aims at protecting independence of the Muslim Ummah. In accordance with this aim, if the interests of Islam and Muslims require, the Islamic government can establish friendly relations provisionally. 1
For instance, if the Islamic government finds that it is unable to resist an infidel power, it can temporarily seek its friendship and conclude truce with it, in order to strengthen its position and defences.
Similarly if the interests of Islam demand adopting a soft and liberal policy towards the unbelievers with the purpose of propagating Islam among them and converting them to Islam, the Islamic State can have friendly relations with them. The Qur’an permits Muslims to have such relations with the unbelievers in special circumstances:
لَّا يَتَّخِذِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَيْسَ مِنَ اللَّهِ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلَّا أَن تَتَّقُوا مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً ۗ وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ ۗ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ الْمَصِيرُ
Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; for whoso does that belongs not to God in anything, unless you have a fear of them. God warns you that you beware of Him, and unto God is the eventual coming. (3:28)
This verse forbids friendship with the unbelievers, but in exceptional circumstances dissimulation (taqiyyah) is permissible. The issue of dissimulation is confirmed by many authentic traditions. Of such reliable traditions is the one quoted by Tafsir al‑Safi, under the commentary on the verse 3:28, from the book al‑'Ihtijaj, that Amir al Mu'minin 'Ali (A) said:
وأمرك أن تستعمل التقية في دينك فإن الله يقول: لا يتخذ المؤمنون الكافرين أولياء من دون المؤمنين ومن يفعل ذلك فليس من الله في شئ إلا أن تتقوا منهم تقاة " وإياك ثم إياك أن تتعرض للهلاك وأن تترك التقية التي أمرتك بها فإنك شائط بدمك ودماء إخوانك معرض لنعمك ولنعمهم للزوال مذلهم في أيدي أعداء الله وقد امرك بإعزازهم.
“God commanded you to observe taqiyyah so that you may follow this command in the matter of religion. God says: I commanded you to dissimulate, so do not give it up lest your life be endangered. Giving up this practice would result in shedding of your and your brothers' blood and in disappearance of your and their fortunes, and by violating the rule of dissimulation you will let your brothers be humiliated by the enemies of God's religion despite the fact that you are obliged to save their honour.” 2
Imam Ja'far al‑Sadiq (A) relates from Imam Muhammad al‑Baqir (A) that,
قال: كان رسول الله (ص) يقول: لا إيمان لمن لا تقية له ويقول، ويقول: قال الله (( إلا أن تتقوا منهم تقاةً)).
The Prophet (S) said that: “a man who does not dissimulate, has no faith (iman), for God says, “... unless you have a fear of them ....” 3
Consider the following traditions:
قال الباقر (ع): التقية في كل شيء يضطر إليه ابن آدم، فقد أحله الله له.
Imam Muhammad al‑Baqir said: “Dissimulation is permissible in all the things in which a man is coerced. God has permitted it.” 4
Al‑Imam al‑Hasan ibn 'Ali (A) related from the Prophet (S) that he said, “God distinguished the prophets from other beings for they showed courtesy to enemies of God's religion, and practised dissimulation for the sake of their brothers.
قال الصادق عليه السلام في قول الله تعالى: ((وقولوا للناس حسنا)) - أي للناس كلهم مؤمنهم ومخالفهم; أما المؤمنون فيبسط لهم وجهه، وأما المخالفون فيكلمهم بالمداراة لاجتذابهم إلى الإيمان. فإنه بـأيسر من ذلك يكف شرورهم عن نفسه وعن إخوانه المؤمنين.
قال الإمام عليه السلام: إن مداراة أعداء الله من أفضل صدقة المرء على نفسه وإخوانه. كان رسول الله في منزله إذ استأذن عليه عبد الله بن أبي السلول، فقال رسول الله: بئس أخو العشيرة. ائذنوا له. فلما دخل، أجلسه وبشر في وجهه. فلما خرج، قالت عائشة: يا رسول الله قلت فيه ما قلت وفعلت به من البشر ما فعلت، فقال رسول الله: يا عويش! يا حميراء! إن شر الناس عند الله يوم القيمة من يكرم اتقاء شره.
Imam Ja'far al‑Sadiq (A), referring to the Divine Utterance,
“... And speak good to men ....” (2:83),
said: “[It means, speak kindly] to all people, whether believers or unbelievers; converse with the believers with warmth. and cheer and with unbelievers with courtesy so that you attract them to the Islamic faith. Or at least you can protect yourself and your fellow believers from the harm that can be caused to you by the unbelievers.”
The Imam said: “Showing courtesy to enemies of God is the best form of alms‑giving as it saves you and your Muslim brothers from harm. Once the Prophet (S) was at his home, `Abd Allah ibn Abi Sulul came to see him. He said, `A bad one of his tribe. Let him come.' Then he received him with courtesy and asked him to sit. When he departed, `A'ishah asked, `O Prophet (S) of God, after what you said about him, why did you show him so much courtesy?' The Prophet (S) replied, `O `Uwaysh! O Humayra'! He would be regarded as the worst man on the Day of Judgement whom people pay respect due to the fear of his evil!” 5
It is evident from the above‑quoted Qur’anic verse and traditions that in case an Islamic government realizes that courtesy, benevolence and friendly relations with the unbelievers is the best policy for the existence and independence of the Muslim Ummah, they may provisionally adopt the policy of taqiyyah. Nevertheless the real objective, i.e. expansion, independence, and glory of Islam, should in no case be forgotten. It makes some adjustments only for protecting its position and power.
If unbelievers have no dishonest intentions of plotting and aggression against Muslims and are inclined to coexist with them in peace, an Islamic State, according to its diagnosis of the interests of Islam, can sign pacts of mutual coexistence with them. In the legitimate matters (permitted by the Shari'ah) that are beneficial for both the sides, they are permitted even to cooperate. The Qur’an says:
لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ إِنَّمَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ قَاتَلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَأَخْرَجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ وَظَاهَرُوا عَلَىٰ إِخْرَاجِكُمْ أَن تَوَلَّوْهُمْ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُمْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
“Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice. Allah only forbids you respecting those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion, and drove you out from your homes and backed up (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends with them; and whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust.” (60:8‑9)
Some of the verses of the Qur’an direct Muslims to make peace with the unbelievers in case they are inclined to accept peace:
وَإِن جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in Allah; Surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing.” (8:61)
The Qur’an bears witness to the concluding of the Prophet's pacts with the unbelievers:
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ عَاهَدتُّم مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَنقُصُوكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَمْ يُظَاهِرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَحَدًا فَأَتِمُّوا إِلَيْهِمْ عَهْدَهُمْ إِلَىٰ مُدَّتِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ
“Except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have rot failed in anything and have not backed up any one against you, so fulfill their agreement to the end of their term; surely Allah loves those who are God‑fearing.” (9:4)
If we refer to the history of Islam and the life of the Prophet (S), we see that during the period of his prophetic mission, he concluded treaties with the unbelievers and faithfully observed all the conditions agreed upon. A few instances may be referred to here:
When the Prophet (S) migrated to al‑Madinah, he concluded a treaty between the Jews and the Emigrants (al Muhajirun) and the Supporters (al‑'Ansar), whose text has been preserved in history. Some highlights of that treaty, relevant to our discussion, are given below:
(i) Every Jew who abides by this pact would benefit from our help and friendship and there would be no discrimination between him and Muslims, and nobody would be allowed to violate his rights and befriend. his enemy.
(ii) At the time of war the Jews would be required to pay their share of the expenses incurred in war.
(iii) The Jews are free to act upon their faith, and Muslims upon their faith.
(iv) Anybody who declares war against any of the parties of this treaty would be fought against unitedly by both the Muslims and the Jews, and each of the allies would meet his part of the war expenditure.
(v) The Jews and Muslims declare to be committed to cooperate for the well‑being and welfare of each other, but not in the matters of sin and evil.
(vi) The signatories of this treaty would defend al‑Madinah unitedly. 6
As we see the Prophet (S) made three kinds of pacts with the unbelievers in the light of this treaty:
(1) A pact of mutual defence and sharing of the war expenditure.
(2) Freedom of the performance of religious rites.
(3) Mutual cooperation in matters of welfare and good deeds.
The highlights of the conditions of this truce, signed by the Prophet (S) at a place called `Hudaybiyyah', are as follows:
(i) The Muslims and the Quraysh are bound to cease all hostilities for a period of four (or ten) years, and would not attack each other.
(ii) They would respect each other's property and would not resort to cheating or theft.
(iii) Every Muslim arriving at Mecca with the purpose of the Hajj or `Umrah, or on his way to Yemen or Ta'if would be guaranteed safe passage and security by the Quraysh, and similarly every member of the Quraysh arriving at al‑Madinah on their way to Syria or the east would be guaranteed security.
(iv) Each of the two parties are free to conclude pact with any tribe they prefer, and this pact would be respected by the other party.
(v) The Muslims and the Quraysh promise to forget all malice, enmity, and grievance against each other and would not nurture in their hearts any feeling of betrayal.
(vi) Muhammad (S) and his followers can enter Mecca to perform ceremonies of ffajj the year after, provided they do not have any kind of arms and their stay at Mecca does not exceed three days. 7
This assurance of security is made on behalf of God and His Prophet (S) in favour of Yuhanna, son of Rubah, and the residents of Aylah. God and His Prophet (S) stand surety for the safety of their persons and their ships and their caravans on voyage by land or sea. Similarly the people from Syria, Yemen and Bahrain who pass through their land are promised security. The people of Aylah are bound to pay the diyah (blood money) to the heirs of any person killed by them, and are bound not to prevent anybody from making use of the waters they take possession of, and would not prevent anybody from using the land and sea routes under their control. 8
(i) The residents of Najran are bound to pay as taxes two thousand hullah's (certain kind of garment) to the Muslims every year in two instalments.
(ii) The emissaries of Muhammad (S) would be offered hospitality by them for one month or less, whereas the emissaries' stay there would not exceed one month.
(iii) In case of battle in the region of Yemen, the people of Najrim, as a token of friendship and cooperation, would make available 30 coats of mail, 30 horses and 30 camels as a guaranteed loan for the Muslim army.
(iv) The people of Najran and their surrounding areas would be under the protection of God and His Prophet (S); their lives, property and places of worship would be also safe; and their bishops and priests would be free to continue performing their duties without any hindrance from anybody.
(v) No one is entitled to exile them from their land or extract tithe (`ushr) from them or launch a military attack against them.
(vi) Every person from among them who makes a legitimate claim would be treated with justice.
(vii) No person from among them would be held responsible for the crime committed by others of his faith.
(viii) The people of Najran promise to abstain from usury (ribd), otherwise Muhammad (S) would revoke terms of friendship with them and would not be bound to stick to the treaty. 9
It is evident from the Prophet's (S) treaties with the unbelievers that the Islamic State, taking into consideration the interests of Islam and Muslims, can conclude treaties and pacts of friendship and cooperation with the unbelievers, polytheists and the People of the Book (Ahl al‑Kitab) in matters of common welfare, such as exchange in spheres of science, agriculture, industry, commerce, economy and defense.
Of course, such pacts should not pave way for the influence and interference of the unbelievers in the internal affairs of a Muslim State and should not hamper its independence and security, which is to be considered of the foremost importance at the time of concluding such pacts. In no way such pacts may be allowed to strengthen the position of the unbelievers and to endanger independence of Muslims. Islamic government in no case should ignore the hidden and inherent enmity and evil designs of the unbelievers; laxity can result in extending their influence on the Islamic State.
If the Islamic government considers it desirable, without any force or pressure, to conclude pacts and treaties with other countries or individuals or companies, it ought to follow the conditions agreed upon. The Qur’an and the hadith lay great stress upon keeping of promises. It is said in the Qur’an:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ
“O believers! fulfill your bonds ....” (5:1)
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ
“And those who preserve their trusts and their covenants.” (23:8)
وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ إِذَا عَاهَدتُّمْ وَلَا تَنقُضُوا الْأَيْمَانَ بَعْدَ تَوْكِيدِهَا وَقَدْ جَعَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ عَلَيْكُمْ كَفِيلًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ
Fulfill God's covenant, when you make covenant, and break not the oaths after they have been confirmed, and you have made God your surety; Surely God knows the things you do. (16:91)
Fulfillment of pacts and agreements, according to these verses, is considered to be a nnark of faith (iman) and is obligatory. These verses are also applicable to the unbelievers and the People of the Book (Ahl al‑Kitab). In addition to these, some other verses are also explicit in respect to the pacts made with the unbelievers. The Qur’an says:
وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ عَاهَدتُّم مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَنقُصُوكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَمْ يُظَاهِرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَحَدًا فَأَتِمُّوا إِلَيْهِمْ عَهْدَهُمْ إِلَىٰ مُدَّتِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ
“... And give you tidings to the unbelievers of a painful chastisement; excepting those of the idolaters with whom you have a treaty, and who, thereafter, have abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. [As for these], fulfill their treaty till their term; surely God loves the God-fearing.” (9:3-4)
In this context many traditions are related. Amir al‑Mu'minin 'All (A), in his letter to Malik al‑'Ashtar, writes:
وإن عقدت بينك وبين عدوك عقدة، أو ألبسته منك ذمة، فحط عهدك بالوفاء، وارع ذمتك بالأمانة، واجعل نفسك جنة دون ما أعطيت، فإنه ليس من فرائض الله شىء الناس أشد اجتماعًا، عليه مع تفرق أهوائهم، من تعظيم الوفاء بالعهود.
“If you conclude an agreement between yourself and your enemy or enter into a pledge with him, then fulfill your agreement and discharge your pledge faithfully. Place yourself as a shield against whatever you have pledged, because among the obligations of Allah there is nothing on which people are more firmly united despite the difference of their ideas and variation of their views than respect for fulfilling pledges.” 10
The Prophet (S) said:
من كان يؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر فليف إذا وعد.
“One who believes in God and the Day of Judgment must fulfill his promises.” 11
يجب على المؤمن الوفاء بالمواعيد والصدق فيها.
“It is obligatory for a believer to fulfil his promises and to be sincere in his pledges.“12
Fulfilment of promise is one of the highest virtues of man, whose nobility is confirmed by the human nature and is repeatedly stressed by Islam. Muslims are asked to remain faithful to the pacts and agreements they have signed even in case they may be harmful to their material gains. Muslims have to set an example of good and exemplary conduct so that people learn from them the value of humaneness and friendship.
If one studies the life and character of the Prophet (S), one will see that he strictly fulfilled all his promises and agreements unless the other party violated it or some of its clauses. For instance, the Prophet (S), according to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, had agreed to hand over any individual who defects to al‑Madinah from Mecca over to the Quraysh.
A newly converted Muslim, Abu Basir; escaped from Mecca and entered al‑Madinah just after the treaty was signed. ‑The Quraysh sent an emissary asking the Prophet (S) to hand Abu Bash over to them according to the treaty. The Prophet (S) told Abu Basir, “I have to comply with the terms of the treaty and am bound to return any person coming from them.
In my religion violation of a treaty is not permissible. You have to return with the emissaries of the Quraysh, and have confidence in God who will soon deliver you from captivity.” Abu Basir said, “O Prophet of God, are you surrendering me to the infidels who want me to give my faith up?” The Prophet (S) answered, “O Abu Basir! I have to fulfil what I have promised according to the agreement; go with them and be sure that God would liberate you and all the oppressed from their oppression. 13
During the battle of Siffin, Amir al‑Mu'minin was forced, against his will, to make truce with Mu'awiyah. After the proposed treaty was signed the Khawarij realized what blunder they had committed, and then proposed to `Ali (A) not to follow the conditions of the treaty. But `Ali (A) said to them, “Do you wish me to violate the treaty I have signed and turn back from the promise? Hasn't God commanded you to fulfil your pact and not to turn away from your oaths after they have been confirmed; and you have made God your surety; surely God knows the things you do.” 14
However, the Prophet (S) of God, the Caliphs, and the Imams of his family were always faithful to their promises and treaties, whether in individual matters or social commitments. As a matter of principle, fulfillment of promises is one of the signs of Islam and iman. A pact can be broken only when the other party violates it, or resolves to do so, or is not true to it. This issue is discussed in the Qur’an in the following words:
وَإِمَّا تَخَافَنَّ مِن قَوْمٍ خِيَانَةً فَانبِذْ إِلَيْهِمْ عَلَىٰ سَوَاءٍ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْخَائِنِينَ
“And if you fear treachery on the part of a people then throw it away at them on terms of equality; surely Allah does not love the treacherous.” (8:58)
Again it is said:
وَإِن نَّكَثُوا أَيْمَانَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ عَهْدِهِمْ وَطَعَنُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ فَقَاتِلُوا أَئِمَّةَ الْكُفْرِ ۙ إِنَّهُمْ لَا أَيْمَانَ لَهُمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَنتَهُونَ
“But if they break their oaths after their agreement and (openly) revile your religion, then fight the leaders of unbelief; surely they have no binding oaths; haply they will desist.” (9:12)
أَلَا تُقَاتِلُونَ قَوْمًا نَّكَثُوا أَيْمَانَهُمْ وَهَمُّوا بِإِخْرَاجِ الرَّسُولِ وَهُم بَدَءُوكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ ۚ أَتَخْشَوْنَهُمْ ۚ فَاللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَن تَخْشَوْهُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
“What! Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Apostle, and they attacked you first? Do you fear them? You would do better to be afraid of God, if you are believers.” (9:13)
There is much evidence that the Prophet (S) and his successors acted upon this guide‑line. In the case of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah the Prophet (S) remained faithful to the conditions of the treaty as long as the unbelievers abode by the treaty; when the unbelievers violated some of its conditions, the Prophet (S) also annulled the treaty and declared war against them.
One of the important and salient features of the Islamic foreign policy concerns discouragement of enemies from aggression. It is the duty of the Islamic State to increase and enhance its military powers by equipping its army with all the necessary arms so that its strength and superiority is recognized by the world, and the enemies of Islam are discouraged to the extent that they cannot dare to think of committing transgression against it. The Qur’an says:
وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُم مَّا اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن قُوَّةٍ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآخَرِينَ مِن دُونِهِمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ اللَّهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ ۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِن شَيْءٍ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُونَ
“Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them. And whatever you expend in Allah's way, shall be repaid you in full, and you will not be wronged.” (8:60)
In this verse God addresses all the Muslims and not just the Prophet (S), and commands them to strive to muster all the forces they can and to make all preparations and gather all necessary equipment so that their force is regarded as superior to all the other forces in the region in every respect; superior in war readiness, military experience, and strategic expertise, superior in the most advanced and sophisticated weapons, superior in the means of transportation on land, sea and air‑so powerful that all the enemies of Islam recognize the Islamic State as militarily superior to them in all respects.
The word `enemy' does not include only those whom you know as enemies, but also those who are not identifiable but are nursing enmity in their hearts, and only God knows their evil designs: “whom you do not know, but Allah knows them”, is a clause of great significance in this verse and needs close attention.
Muslims are commanded to be always in a state of preparation, fully armed and well‑equipped, so that even those of whose enmity you are not aware are intimidated and discouraged from plotting and attacking you in any way. With such a superior force Muslims can check the aggressive designs of the imperialist powers and can uproot from the very foundation chaos, corruption, aggression, exploitation and oppression from the face of the earth.
For this sacred cause, which is willed by God, all the energies and resources that are utilized, would be compensated by God, for your powers are directed toward the attainments of a sacred goal, significant from the Divine as well as human point of view. This effort is not aimed at attaining worldly power, wealth, and position.
The Qur’an commands Muslims to be aware of the personal animosity, hidden malice, and sly conspiracies and strategies of the unbelievers, and that they should never forget that the enemies are awaiting an opportunity to encroach upon their lands, interfere in their affairs and finally to enslave them and subjugate their faith. Muslims are required to always pursue the Divine objectives and to remain firm against their enemies. They should never follow or pursue what is prohibited by the Islamic law. The Qur’an commands:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَمَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ ۖ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ
“O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be hard against them; and their abode is hell‑what an evil resort.” (66:9)
مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ
“Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah, and those with him are hard against the unbelievers ....” (48:29)
The Prophet (S) is ordered by God to struggle hard against the unbelievers and those who are enemies in the garb of friendship of Islam, and he is asked to be very firm in this matter. Here the verb jahid (related to jihad) seems to be used not in the sense of holy war but in the sense of struggle or effort; for the Prophet (S) did not wage war, in the true sense of the word, against the munafiqun (hypocrites).
It may be therefore conjectured that the Prophet (S) is commanded to make all efforts to advance his cause and to frustrate the designs and plots of the unbelievers and hidden enemies (munafiqun). He is asked to defeat them with the force of argument, exhortation, good counsel, proper guidance and preaching‑in short all the appropriate means are to be availed of and all efforts to be put in against the enemies. He is asked to be ever vigilant, showing no signs of weakness against the enemies. The Qur’an says:
فَلَا تُطِعِ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ وَدُّوا لَوْ تُدْهِنُ فَيُدْهِنُونَ
“So obey not those who reject (the Divine message). They wish that you should be compromising so they [too] would compromise.” (68:8‑9)
فَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا
“So do not follow the unbelievers, and strive against them with a mighty striving.” (25:52)
وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
“And be not infirm, and be not grieving; you shall have the upper hand if you are believers.” (3:139)
فَلِذَٰلِكَ فَادْعُ ۖ وَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ ۖ وَقُلْ آمَنتُ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِن كِتَابٍ ۖ وَأُمِرْتُ لِأَعْدِلَ بَيْنَكُمُ
“To this, then, go on inviting, and go on steadfastly on the right way as you are commanded, and do not follow their caprices, and say: 1 believe in what Allah has revealed [to me] of the Book, and I am commanded to do justice with you .... “ (42:15)
فَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَمَن تَابَ مَعَكَ وَلَا تَطْغَوْا ۚ إِنَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ وَلَا تَرْكَنُوا إِلَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا فَتَمَسَّكُمُ النَّارُ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ مِنْ أَوْلِيَاءَ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ
“Continue then in the right way as you and he who has turned (to Allah) with you were commanded, and be not inordinate [O men!], surely He sees what you do. And do not incline to those who are unjust, lest the fire touch you, and you have no guardians besides Allah, then you shall not be helped.” (11:112‑113)
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
“Surely those who say: “Our Lord is Allah,” then they continue on the right way, they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve.” (46:13)
Islam considers all Muslims to be one ummah, a community whose basis is faith and common objectives, and among all its constituent units exists a deeper unity which does not allow the differences of region, race, language, and nation to disrupt and disintegrate it. The Qur’an declares:
إِنَّ هَٰذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ
“Surely this community of yours is one community (ummah), and I am your Lord, therefore serve Me.” (21:92)
According to this verse, Muslims are identified as one ummah, as parts of which they move towards a common goal, strive to realize their common objectives, worship one and the only God.
In many traditions Muslims are described as one body, and different units of the Muslim ummah are regarded as the organs of a single body. A few of the traditions are quoted here in order to substantiate the point.
Abu Said narrates from the Prophet (S) that he said, “A believer's relationship to other believers is like that of the different parts of a building, each of which supports the other.” 15
The Prophet (S) said: “A believer with respect to other believers is related like the head is related to the body. A believer feels the pain of other believers as the head feels the pain of the body.” 16
The Prophet (S) said: “One who gets up in the morning and his mind is not preoccupied with the matters of Muslims, is not one of them. “17
Imam Ja'far al‑Sadiq (A) said: “Muslims are related to one another like the parts of a body; if a part of a body is in pain, other parts of it cannot remain unaffected.” 18
Al‑Imam al‑Sadiq (A) said: “The believers are related to one another like brothers born of the same parents; if any one of them is injured, others are kept awake the whole night for his sake.” 19
Al‑Imam al‑Sadiq (A) said further: “A Muslim is the brother of other Muslims; he is never unjust to them, never betrays them, and is never treacherous to them. He always strives to help them and treats them sympathetically and brotherly; and helps those among Muslims who are needy, and obeys the command of God for being merciful to one another. He remembers with compassion and grief his brother who has gone away‑in the same way as the Helpers (al‑'Ansar) of the Prophet (S) helped their brothers.” 20
All these traditions lead us to the conclusion that all Muslims are brothers and are like a single body, and therefore can never be indifferent towards one another. Among them should prevail the spirit of cooperation, brotherhood, fraternity, good will, love, sympathy, and unity of direction and purpose, and they should be always united for the defense of the Ummah. From this we can infer that the responsibility of the Islamic State is not confined to its boundaries only, but it is also responsible for and committed to all individuals of the Muslim Ummah. It should try to realize, as far as possible, the following objectives:
(1) Propagation of the genuine teachings of Islam among all the Muslims of the world by means of distribution of books, journals, and daily papers, sending preachers, arranging cultural exchange programs, deputing teachers, establishing religious institutions like mosques and madrasah's, chalking out effective programs of religious instructions and making them accessible to all the believers, and making use of all other vehicles of propaganda.
(2) Full support to all Islamic movements and struggles for the freedom of the Muslims of the world.
(3) Economic aid to all the deprived, oppressed, and needy people of the world.
(4) Defence of all the victims of injustice arid tyranny.
(5) Endeavour for promoting the cause of Muslim unity.
(6) Defence of the independence of the Muslims wherever and whenever their freedom is endangered by the aggression of the enemies.
The Islamic government has to fulfill these great responsibilities in accordance with its resources and strength with due consideration of its own interests with respect to other countries and nations and their varying conditions and circumstances. It is the Islamic State's duty to explore and investigate all the existing possibilities and conditions thoroughly, so that it is able to frame its foreign policy accordingly.
What policy has the Islamic government to adopt vis-à-vis the governments which rule over a considerable number of Muslims? Should it be on a par with the policy in relation to other non‑Muslim countries, or a different policy is to be adopted toward such States? Of course, all the States where Muslims live are not alike, and they can be divided into different categories:
First Category: A state's government is one hundred per cent Islamic if it has firm faith in the Islamic system and fully implements it in all of its dimensions.
Second Category: Those States which accept the Islamic faith in general, but which do not recognize fully the implications of the Islamic faith. In application, they confine Islam to the matters pertaining to the fundamental doctrines of the faith, prescribed forms of worship and some parts of Islamic ethics.
They do not understand Islam as a comprehensive system that covers not only the matters of worship but also all the moral, political, and social aspects of human life. Such a government does not Islamize its governmental and social institutions, not because of any hostility but due to sheer ignorance.
Third Category: The States which claim to be Muslim but do not have any objective except remaining in power and ruling over Muslims under this pretext. All that matters to its officials is position, authority, and luxuries of life; they do not care for Islam or for anything else, and are not interested in following the teachings and laws of Islam.
Fourth Category: A government which is not only uncommitted to Islam, but is also installed in power by unbelieving and oppressive powers, receives their support, and acts as a puppet in the hands of oppressors and enemies of Islam.
In view of the above‑mentioned categories, the foreign policy of an Islamic State cannot be uniform with respect to various States and governments. The Islamic government is committed to a particular ideology and certain . specific aims, hence it has to choose the best policy which can be instrumental in reaching nearest to its goals in the best possible manner. An Islamic government is obliged to fulfill its commitments to all Muslims of the world. Such commitments are enumerated in brief
(1) It should make all efforts to awaken Muslims of the world and to arm them with the teachings, culture, and values of Islam.
(2) It should strive to create an atmosphere of cordiality, fraternity, and mutual understanding conducive to Islamic unity.
(3) It should try its best to eliminate from the Muslim countries all forms of influence and intervention of the unbelievers and the imperialists.
(4) An all‑out effort for achieving complete independence and freedom of the Muslim Ummah.
(5) An attempt to establish Islamic rule and to implement Islamic laws all over the world.
(6) Defence of the oppressed and the exploited people and enforcement of social justice throughout the whole world.
(7) War against unbelief, materialism, and imperialism with a view to spreading tawhid and Islam in the world.
Such is the scope of the responsibility of an Islamic government whose fulfillment is an extremely delicate and difficult task. The authorities of the Islamic State should frame their external affairs policies, keeping in view the targets mentioned above, in such a fashion that they are able to reach their objectives sooner and with efficiency.
Naturally no uniform policy in relation to all the various States and governments can be adopted, for all of them are different from one another in many respects. In accordance with each country's pattern of government, and cultural traditions; the military, economic and political potentialities, of the Islamic State; different policies have to be pursued in the context of the general conditions and the historical course of the world events.
It is important that the desired goal ought never to be let to slip out of our mind, and every possible opportunity and means accessible to us are to be tried for attaining it.
In some cases breaking of relations is the best policy, while in other cases complete mutual cooperation is required. Occasionally war is the best way of solving the problems, and sometimes truce is essential. It is up to the authorities of an Islamic government to decide which policy and what way can be adopted. We can only suggest briefly that, in general, maintaining good relations with certain countries is advantageous in some respects, as follows:
(1) A spirit of mutual understanding in relation to various States can provide better opportunities for establishing contacts with the people and for propagating the teachings and principles of Islam in order to awaken Muslims and acquaint them with the realities of Islam so that proper ground is prepared for implementation of the Islamic social system and its laws.
(2) Good relations with friendly States are conducive to seeking their support and cooperation in the international organizations and forums in order to advance the interests of Islam.
(3) Good relations are more conducive to attainment of the desired goal of Islamic unity and liberation of nations from the clutches of the infidel imperialist powers. As the unbelievers and exploiters make attempt to sow the seeds of disunity among the Muslim countries in order to protect their own interests, breakdown of relations among Muslim States serves their purpose and is desired by them.
Without harming the main objectives, if good relations with other Muslim countries are maintained and attempts are made to bring them closer, it would bring us closer to our goal. To whatever degree an Islamic State comes closer to other States, to the same extent they move away from the imperialist exploitative powers.
(4) If the Islamic State breaks its relations with some State, that State is forced to have closer alliance with the infidel imperialist powers for its own safety, with the probability that it shall fall totally into the hands of those powers. This would certainly damage the global cause of Islam.
(5) Relations of the Islamic State with such countries as mentioned above would be to the common benefit of the related nations from economic, cultural, and political points of view.
(6) Friendly relations can provide a safeguard against the hostility and conspiracy of other powers, or at least such relations can reduce the possibilities of opposition.
(7) The Islamic State, by maintaining friendly relations and promoting mutual understanding with. all the Muslim countries, can meet its economic, cultural, scientific and military needs, and come closer to attaining self‑sufficiency. In the same proportion it would lead the Muslim countries to reduce their dependence upon oppressive world powers, and thus would inflict a severe blow upon the forces of exploitation.
Nevertheless, all this depends upon the Islamic State's commitment to the message and goals of Islam, which should always be kept in sight, and all our attempts must be directed towards their realization. The course of action for attaining those objectives cannot always be one and the same; it would differ according to conditions and circumstances.
The choice of the best course is a highly difficult, critical, and sensitive affair, and even a minor lapse can result in un amendable consequences, weakening the power and prestige of the Islamic State.
Howsoever difficult and crucial the choice of policy for conducting foreign affairs and international relations may be, it is the responsibility of the officials of the Islamic State to adopt the best course with extreme care, acute insight, and faultless anticipation, in accordance with the existing conditions, in general, and the general criteria laid down by Islam in particular.
It is in this framework that sometimes a situation may arise in which breaking of relations with certain States, and even covert or open war against them is necessitated.
- 1. 'Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabitaba'i, al‑Mizan fi tafsir al-Qur an, vol. 3, p. 162.
- 2. Al‑Taratib al‑'idariyyah, vol. I, p. 194
- 3. Allamah Muhammad Baqir al‑Majlisi, Bihar al‑anwar, vol. LXXV, p. 414.
- 4. Ibid., vol. LXXV, p. 435.
- 5. Ibid., vol. LXXV, p. 401.
- 6. Ibn Hisham, Sirat al‑Rasul, vol. II, p. 147; and Abu `Ubayd, Kitab al‑'amwal, p. 290.
- 7. Kitab al‑amwal, p. 230; al‑Halabi, Insan al‑`uyun fi sirat al‑amin wa al‑ma'mun, vol. III, p. 24.
- 8. Kitab al‑amwal, p. 287.
- 9. AI‑Baladhuri, Ahmad ibn Yahyi ibn Jibir, Futuh al‑buldan, p. 76; Kitab alamwal, p. 272.
- 10. Nahj al‑balaghah (ed. Subhi al‑80h, Beirut 1387 A.H.), Rasa'il, No. 53, p. 442.
- 11. Al‑Kulayni, Muhammad ibn Ya'qub, al‑Kafi, voL II, p. 363.
- 12. Muhammad Nuri al‑Mazandarini al‑Tabari, Mustadrak al‑wasail wa mustanbat al‑masa'il, vol. II, p. 85.
- 13. Ibn Hishim, op.cit., vol. II, p. 323.
- 14. AI‑Munaqqari, Nasr ibn Muzahim, Waqat Sifn, p. 514
- 15. Ibn Hajar, Ahmad ibn Muhammad al‑Haythami, Majma` al‑zawa'id, vol. VIII, p. 87.
- 16. Majma 'al‑zawa'id, vol. VIII, p. 87.
- 17. AI‑Kafi, vol. II, p. 164.
- 18. Ibid., vol. II, p. 166.
- 19. Ibid., vol. II, p. 165.
- 20. Ibid., vol. II, p. 174.