Islam is a religion of love, merey and tolerance and it preaches it belief and faith. It recognizes the rights of non-Muslims living in an lslamic State. T hey were called protected people or zimmies because they lived peace and tranquility under the protection of the Islamic State.
The messenger of Allah practiced religious tolerance towards non-Muslim and did not use force to compel people of other religions to embrace islam as it would have been against the commands of the Quran.
“Let there be no compulsion in religion.” (2: 256)
Muslims are commanded here not to force Islam on people of other religions, because belief in any religion depends on faith, and faith cannot be induced by force. In Islam, religious tolerance is so highly recommended that there is no room for any compulsion to accept Islam only argument and logic can be used to show others the guidance of Islam. The Quran advocates a just and kind treatment for non-Muslims. The Holy Prophet PBUH was commanded by Allah to grant asylum to any unbeliever who asked for it.
Muslims believe in all previous messengers and all of them are held in equal esteem. For a Muslim, Allah is none other than the God of Hazrat Musa and Hazrat Isa. The followers of these messengers are called the ‘People-of the Book’ in the Quran The Holy Prophet PBUH, therefore, gave them special consideration and status in the Islamic State of Madinah and freedom.to practice their religions. He showed immense goodwill and understanding towards them.
Their scriptures and places of worship were respected. They enjoyed complete security and protection of their lives, property and religion. No synagogue or church was destroyed. They were allowed to maintain and repair their places of worship and also to construct new ones. They were granted judicial autonomy. Their civil cases were decided according to their own laws and by their own courts. In addition, they were allowed to seek justice in a Muslim court, if they so desired. The Muslim authorities were not allowed to interfere with their personal laws.
In fact, in safeguarding the rights of non-Muslims, an Islamic state has gone to such extremes as to give them the iberty of maintaining even those practices which are entirely opposed to the teachings of Islam. For example, the consumption of alcohol is forbidden to Muslims, yet the non-Muslim inhabitants of the country have the liberty to consume, manufacture, import and sell alcohol. The same is true of games of chance and contracts involving usury.
Islam insists on kind treatment of non-Muslims. The Holy Prophet PBUH said:
“If anyone wrongs a man to whom a treaty has been granted, or burden him above his strength, I will advocate against him on the Day of Judgemet.” (Abu Daud)
Hazrat Abu Bakr said:
“If a province or people receive you, make an agreement with them and keep your promise. Let them be governed by their laws and established customs, and take tribute from them as is agreed between you. Leave them in their religion and their land.”
Hazrat Umar treated non-Muslims very kindly and justly. While imposing taxes upon them, he-was very careful that enough was left for their maintenance.
Even on is deathbed, he left instructions that non-Muslims should be treated justly and not overburdened with taxes. Such were the injunctions of the Holy Prophet PBUH and his immediate successors about the rights of non-Muslims.