The recent lamentation of some Nigerian Muslims online is a pointer to the fact that submitting totally to the will of Allah regardless of the times we live in is non-negotiable.
They are shocked that people they took as allies, showed affection to regardless of their religious differences nurse so much resentment towards Islam. What is in the hearts of these so-called friends and best friends has been exposed given the recent political drama championed by the Christian Association of Nigeria.
Allah (SWT) says in the glorious Qur’an’,
“O you who have believed, do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies, extending to them affection while they have disbelieved in what came to you of the truth, having driven out the Prophet and yourselves [only] because you believe in Allah , your Lord. If you have come out for jihad in My cause and seeking means to My approval, [take them not as friends]. You confide to them affection, but I am most knowing of what you have concealed and what you have declared. And whoever does it among you has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way.
If they gain dominance over you, they would be to you as enemies and extend against you their hands and their tongues with evil, and they wish you would disbelieve.” Qur’an 60:1-2
Like many non-Muslims, this verse and others like it have come under criticism in the hands of nominal Muslims because they do not fit into their own definition of love, affection, and humanitarianism. Whether this is due to diseases in their hearts, a lack of enlightenment, or the desire to be stiff-necked, is a subject of discourse.
In understanding the concept of love or affection and humanitarianism in Islam, verses like the one quoted above cannot be interpreted in isolation. We take a look at another verse that balances this verse explaining the affection and justice in a way unknown to unbelievers.
Allah says in verse 8 of the same Surah,
“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.”
As seen in the verse, non-Muslims who do not fight Muslims on account of their religion and do not chase Muslims away from their homes can co-exist peacefully with Muslims. However, dealing righteously and just with non-Muslims and at the same time not showing affections to them is the cause of confusion for both non-Muslims and nominal Muslims.
In understanding this concept of dealing righteously and justly with non-Muslims without affection or making them allies, one needs to comprehend our inherent awareness of justice as well as the basis of justice our respective communities are built upon.
A Judge known to be just is not one given to affection. While he is affectionate towards his friends and family, a just Judge or ruler does not need to have affection towards the one yearning for justice. Being just takes so much precedence over affections because a just person will not just bear witness against his loved ones but also to his own self. That is righteousness, that is being just.
As explained above, the one that calls for justice is not necessarily in need of the Judge or ruler’s affections to get the justice and fairness that he demands for. Thus, it is not difficult for a Muslim to live peacefully with non-Muslims, give and protect their rights, be kind and gentle with them, so far the non-Muslims do not make themselves enemies of Muslims and Islam. When that happens, Muslims are not forbidden from fighting them.
Muslims are one ‘Ummah and are supposed to share a bond that they do not share with others outside the fold of Islam. However, this does not mean that Muslims are to hate and act unfairly towards non-Muslims. Historically and as we have seen in recent times, the fundamentals of Islam is such that shakes disbelievers to the roots. Consequently, some come as open enemies to Muslims, while others do not, only for what is in their hearts to be exposed when situations arise.
Amongst the non-Muslims too are those who are ready to deal peacefully and fairly with Muslims. It is to these people that acting fairly and justly becomes incumbent on Muslims. In the event where non-Muslims want to show their resentment towards Islam, only those who act righteously and justly towards them without affection will be saved from heartaches and the lamentations that follow it.
Conclusively, a lack of affection is not the same as hatred when righteousness and justice exists. On the other hand, affections can obstruct justice. If non-Muslims and nominal Muslims want to criticize Islam on affections and justice, they should only complain when Islam forbids being just. When and where Islam does not forbid justice, the non-Muslims and affectionate apologists can remain in a state of permanent silence, seek to know more about Islam before attempting to make criticisms.
I ask, is affection better than Justice?
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman