The second question of Fatwa no. 7807
Q 2: Is the call for rapprochement between religions (Islam – Christianity – Judaism) a legitimate one? Is it permissible for a Muslim believer to support it? I heard that this is done by some scholars in Al-Az-har and other Islamic institutions. Is the call for rapprochement betweenAhl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream) and theShiites, Druze, Al-Isma`iliyyah, Al-Nusayriyyah and such sects useful for Muslims? Is reconciliation between them possible, although all of these sects entail Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship), offense to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and hostility towards Islam and Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah? Is this rapprochement permissible according to Shari`ah?
A: First: the roots of Iman (faith) which Allah has revealed to His Messengers in the Holy Books: Tawrah (Torah), Injil (Gospel), Zabur (Psalms), and the Qur’an; and which the Messengers Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), ‘Isa (Jesus), and other Messengers (peace be upon them) called to, are all the same. The former ones of them told the latter about them; and the latter confirmed what the former said, even if they differed in the branches, each according to the circumstances of their own era and the benefit of the people at their time. This is the wisdom and mercy of Allah, as He says, The Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allâh, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say), “We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers” – and they say, “We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all).“(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 285).
Allah also says, And those who believe in Allâh and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of them (Messengers), We shall give them their rewards; and Allâh is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Al-Nisa’, 4: 152).
Allah also says, And (remember) when Allâh took the Covenant of the Prophets, saying: “Take whatever I gave you from the Book and Hikmah (understanding of the Laws of Allâh), and afterwards there will come to you a Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) confirming what is with you; you must, then, believe in him and help him.”
Allâh said: “Do you agree (to it) and will you take up My Covenant (which I conclude with you)?” They said: “We agree.” He said: “Then bear witness; and I am with you among the witnesses (for this).”Then whoever turns away after this, they are the Fâsiqûn (rebellious: those who turn away from Allâh’s Obedience). Do they seek other than the religion of Allâh (the true Islâmic Monotheism – worshipping none but Allâh Alone), while to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly. And to Him shall they all be returned. (Surah Al-‘Imran, 3: 81-83).
Allah also says, Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “We believe in Allâh and in what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to Ibrâhîm (Abraham), Ismâ‘îl (Ishmael), Ishâq (Isaac), Ya‘qûb (Jacob) and Al-Asbât [the offspring of the twelve sons of Ya‘qûb (Jacob)] and what was given to Mûsâ (Moses), ‘Isâ (Jesus) and the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between one another among them and to Him (Allâh) we have submitted (in Islâm).” And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers. (Surah Al-‘Imran, 3: 84-85).
After mentioning Ibrahim’s call for Tawhid (monotheism) and the Messengers who were contemporary with him, Allah says, They are those whom We gave the Book, Al-Hukm (understanding of the religious laws), and Prophethood. But if these disbelieve therein (the Book, Al-Hukm and Prophethood), then, indeed We have entrusted it to a people (such as the Companions of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) who are not disbelievers therein. They are those whom Allâh had guided. So follow their guidance. Say: “No reward I ask of you for this (the Qur’ân). It is only a reminder for the ‘Alamîn (mankind and jinn).” (Surah Al-An’am, 6: 89-90).
Allah also says, Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrâhîm (Abraham) are those who followed him, and this Prophet (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) and those who have believed (Muslims). And Allâh is the Walî (Protector and Helper) of the believers. (Surah Al-‘Imran, 3: 68).
Allah also says, Then, We have sent the revelation to you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم saying): “Follow the religion of Ibrâhîm (Abraham) Hanif (Islâmic Monotheism – to worship none but Allâh) and he was not of the Mushrikûn (polytheists, idolaters and disbelievers). (Surah Al-Nahk, 16: 123).
He also says, And (remember) when ‘Isâ (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), said: “O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allâh unto you, confirming the Taurât [(Torah) which came] before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad. (Surah Al-Saff, 61: 6).
He also says, And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) the Book (this Qur’ân) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and Muhaymin (trustworthy in highness and a witness) over it (old Scriptures). So judge among them by what Allâh has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you. To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way. (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5: 48).
It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, I am the nearest of all the people to ‘Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus, son of Mary) in this world and in the hereafter. All the prophets are paternal brothers; they have different mothers, but their religion is the same. Narrated by Al-Bukhari.
Second, The Jews and the Christians changed the words from their (right) places and carried out commands other than those given to them. Thus, they changed the principles of their religions and the rulings of Allah, such as the claim made by the Jews that ‘Uzayr is the son of Allah. They claim that Allah got tired from creating the heavens, the earth, and what is in between in six days, so He rested on Saturday. They also claim that they crucified ‘Isa (peace be upon him) and killed him. They consider hunting on Saturday legal, while Allah prohibits them from doing so. They also abrogated the Had (prescribed penalty) of Zina (adultery) for a married person.
They said, Truly, Allâh is poor and we are rich! They also said, Allâh’s Hand is tied up (i.e. He does not give and spend of His Bounty). In addition to other verbal and practical distortions made on purpose in following their own desires. The Christians also claim that ‘Isa (peace be upon him) is the son of Allah, and that he is another God besides Allah. They believe the Jews in their claim that they crucified and killed him. Each of them (i.e. the Jews and the Christians) claim that they are the children of Allah and His loved ones. They disbelieve in Muhammad (peace be upon him) and envy him, although they are supposed to believe and support him, in addition to other aspects of disgrace and discrepancies among them. Allah has told us a lot of their lies and distortions of the creeds and legislations that were revealed to them. He exposed them, and replied to them in the Qur’an saying, Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say, “This is from Allâh,” to purchase with it a little price! Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby. And they (Jews) say, “The Fire (i.e. Hell-fire on the Day of Resurrection) shall not touch us but for a few numbered days.” Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم to them): “Have you taken a covenant from Allâh, so that Allâh will not break His Covenant? Or is it that you say of Allâh what you know not?” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 79-80).
Allah also says, And they say, “None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.” These are their own desires. Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), “Produce your proof if you are truthful.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 111).
Allah also says, And they say, “Be Jews or Christians, then you will be guided.” Say (to them O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), “Nay, (we follow) only the religion of Ibrâhîm (Abraham), Hanîfa [Islâmic Monotheism, i.e. to worship none but Allâh (Alone)], and he was not of Al-Mushrikûn (those who worshipped others along with Allâh – see V.2:105).”
Say (O Muslims), “We believe in Allâh and that which has been sent down to us and that which has been sent down to Ibrâhîm (Abraham), Ismâ‘îl (Ishmael), Ishâq (Isaac), Ya‘qûb (Jacob), and to Al-Asbât [the offspring of the twelve sons of Ya‘qûb (Jacob)], and that which has been given to Mûsâ (Moses) and ‘Isâ (Jesus), and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have submitted (in Islâm).” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 135-136).
Allah also says, And verily, among them is a party who distort the Book with their tongues (as they read), so that you may think it is from the Book, but it is not from the Book, and they say: “This is from Allâh,” but it is not from Allâh; and they speak a lie against Allâh while they know it. (Surah Al-‘Imran, 3: 78).
Allah also says, Because of their breaking the covenant, and of their rejecting the Ayât (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allâh, and of their killing the Prophets unjustly, and of their saying: “Our hearts are wrapped (with coverings, i.e. we do not understand what the Messengers say)” – nay, Allâh has set a seal upon their hearts because of their disbelief, so they believe not but a little. And because of their (Jews) disbelief and uttering against Maryam (Mary السلام عليهما) a grave false charge (that she has committed illegal sexual intercourse); And because of their saying (in boast), “We killed Messiah ‘Isâ (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allâh,” – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it appeared so to them [the resemblance of ‘Isâ (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man)], and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. ‘Isâ (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) عليهما السلام]: But Allâh raised him [‘Isâ (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he عليه السلام is in the heavens). And Allâh is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise. (Surah Al-Nisa’, 4: 155-158).
Allah also says, And (both) the Jews and the Christians say: “We are the children of Allâh and His loved ones.” Say: “Why then does He punish you for your sins?” Nay, you are but human beings of those He has created(Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5: 18).
Allah also says, And the Jews say: ‘Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allâh, and the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allâh. That is their saying with their mouths, resembling the saying of those who disbelieved aforetime. Allâh’s Curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth! They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allâh (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allâh), and (they also took as their Lord) Messiah, son of Maryam (Mary) (Surah Al-Tawbah, 9: 30-31). Allah also says, Many of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their ownselves, even after the truth (that Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is Allâh’s Messenger) has become manifest unto them. (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 109).
There are countless examples of their distortion, contradictions, and disgrace. We only intend to mention some examples of their status as an answer to the question.
Third, according to what has been mentioned above, it is evident that the origin of religions legislated by Allah for the people is one, which needs no rapprochement. It is also evident that the Jews and the Christianshave distorted what was revealed to them from Allah, until their religions became false, Kufr (disbelief) and misguidance. Thus, Allah sent them His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) as well as to all the nations so that he would reveal the truth that they had concealed, correct the ‘Aqidahs (creeds) and rulings they had distorted, and guide them to the right path.
Allah says, O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Now has come to you Our Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) explaining to you much of that which you used to hide from the Scripture and pass over (i.e. leaving out without explaining) much. Indeed, there has come to you from Allâh a light (Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) and a plain Book (this Qur’ân). Wherewith Allâh guides all those who seek His Good Pleasure to ways of peace, and He brings them out of darkness by His Will unto light and guides them to the Straight Way (Islâmic Monotheism). (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5: 15-16).
He also says, O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Now has come to you Our Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) making (things) clear unto you, after a break in (the series of) Messengers, lest you say: “There came unto us no bringer of glad tidings and no warner.” But now has come unto you a bringer of glad tidings and a warner. And Allâh is Able to do all things. (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5: 19).
However, they turned away from him out of injustice and envy after knew the truth.
Allah says, Many of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their ownselves, even after the truth (that Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is Allâh’s Messenger) has become manifest unto them. (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 109).
He also says, And when there came to them (the Jews), a Book (this Qur’ân) from Allâh confirming what is with them [the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)], although aforetime they had invoked Allâh (for coming of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved, then when there came to them that which they had recognised, they disbelieved in it. So let the Curse of Allâh be on the disbelievers. (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 89).
He also says, And when there came to them a Messenger from Allâh (i.e. Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) confirming what was with them, a party of those who were given the Scripture threw away the Book of Allâh behind their backs as if they did not know! (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 101).
He also says, Those who disbelieve from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and Al-Mushrikûn, were not going to leave (their disbelief) until there came to them clear evidence. A Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) from Allâh, reciting (the Qur’ân) purified pages [purified from Al-Bâtil (falsehood)]. (Surah Al-Bayyinah, 98: 1-2).
How can a sane person who knows about their insistence on falsehood and their extreme injustice in spite of their knowledge, and out of envy and following desires, how can anyone hope for rapprochement between them and the true Muslims?
Allah says, Do you (faithful believers) covet that they will believe in your religion inspite of the fact that a party of them (Jewish rabbis) used to hear the Word of Allâh [the Taurât (Torah)], then they used to change it knowingly after they understood it? (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 75).
He also says, Verily, We have sent you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) with the truth (Islâm), a bringer of glad tidings (for those who believe in what you brought, that they will enter Paradise) and a warner (for those who disbelieve in what you brought, that they will enter the Hell-fire). And you will not be asked about the dwellers of the blazing Fire. Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) till you follow their religion. Say: “Verily, the Guidance of Allâh (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance. And if you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur’ân), then you would have against Allâh neither any Walî (protector or guardian) nor any helper. (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 119-120).
Allah also says, How shall Allâh guide a people who disbelieved after their belief and after they bore witness that the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) is true and after clear proofs had come unto them? And Allâh guides not the people who are Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers). (Surah Al-‘Imran, 3: 86).
If they are not considered more evil and hostile to Allah and to the believers than Mushrikun (those who associate others with Allah in worship), they are at least equal to them. Allah says to His Messengers about the Mushrikun,So (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) obey you not the deniers [(of Islâmic Monotheism – those who belie the Verses of Allâh), the Oneness of Allâh, and the Messengership of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم] They wish that you should compromise (in religion out of courtesy) with them: so they (too) would compromise with you.(Surah Al-Qalam, 68: 8-9).
He also says, Say: (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم to these Mushrikûn and Kâfirûn): “O Al-Kafirûn (disbelievers in Allâh, in His Oneness, in His Angels, in His Books, in His Messengers, in the Day of Resurrection, and in Al-Qadar)! “I worship not that which you worship, “Nor will you worship that which I worship. “And I shall not worship that which you are worshipping. “Nor will you worship that which I worship. “To you be your religion, and to me my religion (Islâmic Monotheism).” (Surah Al-Kafirun, 109: 1-6).
A person who thinks of compromising between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism is like a person who tries to match two contradictory things; truth and falsehood; Kufr and Iman.
Fourth, if a person calls to declare a truce or a peace treaty between these sects in order to spare the blood of people, avoid wars, enable people to earn their living, maintain the earth, call to the truth, and guide people to justice, it will be a great and noble purpose. However, the truth should be protected, and this should not be done at the expense of Muslims. The participants may adulate the Mushrikun and give up some of the rulings ordained by Allah or some of their dignity. On the contrary, they should keep their self-respect and stick to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of their Prophet (peace be upon him), in obedience to the way of the Qur’an and following the Messenger (peace be upon him).
Allah says, But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and (put your) trust in Allâh. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. (Surah Al-Anfal, 8: 61).
Allah also says, So be not weak and ask not for peace (from the enemies of Islâm) while you are having the upper hand. Allâh is with you, and He will never decrease the reward of your good deeds. (Surah Muhammad, 47: 35).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) applied this practically when he concluded a peace treaty with Quraysh in the year of Al-Hudaybiyah, with the Jews in Al-Madinah before the Battle of Al-Khandaq (the Trench) and the Battle of Khaybar, and with the Christians of Rome in the Battle of Tabuk. This had the greatest impact and the most wonderful results; peace spread, lives were saved, the truth prevailed in the world, people embraced Islam in crowds, and everyone began to work for the benefit of this world and the Hereafter. Thus, the result was prosperity, power, and the spread of Islam and peace.
History and reality are the strongest proof of this for the impartial and sane people who are free from fanaticism and sophistry. Therein is indeed a reminder for those who have a heart or listen heedfully. Allah is the One Who guides to the straight path. He is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.
Fifth, Druze, Al-Nusayriyyah, Al-Isma`iliyyah and those who follow them such as Babists and Baha’is have manipulated the religious texts; legislated for themselves what Allah has not permitted for them; and imitated the Jews and the Christians in their distortions out of following the desire imitating the first leader of Fitnah (trial):`Abdullah ibn Sab’ Al-Himyary, the head of Ibtida’ (heresy), misguidance, and spreading conflict among the Muslims. His evil spread widely; many sects were deceived by him, so they turned to Kufr after having embraced Islam; and controversy spread among Muslims. Thus, the call for rapprochement between such sects and the Muslims is useless and futile, as they resemble the Jews and the Christians in their misguidance, Kufr, envy towards the Muslims and conspiring against them, even if their ways and intentions are different. Thus, they apply the same policy of the Jews and the Christians with the Muslims. For some reason, a group of Egyptian Azhari scholars attempted to make this rapprochement with the Iranian, Rafidi scholars of Qum after the Second World War.
Some of the sincere great scholars were deceived by this call, as their hearts were too pure and they were inexperienced in life. So, they issued a magazine called “Al-Taqrib”. However, the truth was uncovered soon after, and this call ended in failure. This is not strange, as the inclinations are different, the ideas are distinct, and the ‘Aqidahs are contrasting. There is no way to reconcile the contraries.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.
The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’