Is It Permissible to Stand Up for Non-Muslim Elders and Teachers?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I read a fatwa online stating that Muslims should not respect non-Muslims. Is this true? Is it permissible to stand up for non-Muslim elders and teachers?

Answer

Thank you for your question. This could not be further from the truth. All mankind has a right to be respected.

Islam

Islam is a religion of peace and submission. Muslim rulers of the past have always been known to have been the most merciful and fair in comparison with their brutal counterparts. Nations converted because of their character and piety. 

Can someone possibly imagine the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) disrespecting non-Muslims, to whom he was trying to preach? Has Allah not told us in the Quran, “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction.” [Quran, 16:125]

Oppression

Our religion is one of defending others, and standing up for the weak. Stand up for any non-Muslims that are being harmed, an elder, a teacher, or anyone else, and be confident that you are following the sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Al-Bara bin Azib narrated, “The Messenger of Allah, Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), ordered us with seven things and he forbade us from seven. He ordered us to follow the funeral, visit the ill, reply to the sneezing person, accept the invitation, assist the oppressed, help the one who made an oath and return the Salam. And he forbade us from seven things: From the gold ring, or ringlets of gold, silver vessels, wearing silk, Ad-Dibaj, Al-Istabraq, And Al-Qassi.” [Tirmidhi]

Please see these links as well: 

“Allah forbade oppression amongst his creation”, khutbah by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said
How Should I Act When Working with Non-Muslims?
Is it Haram to Befriend Non-Muslims?
Are All Non-Muslims Deemed “Kafir”?

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad 
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.