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History is full of examples of friendship between Muslims and the People of the Book

fermanCaliph Umar's declaration to the Orthodox patriarch Sophronios in 638. This declaration guaranteed all of the Christians' rights in the Holy Land.

Anyone looking at the position of Christians and Jews under Islamic rule in history with an unbiased eye will encounter one manifest reality: The People of the Book have always lived in peace and security under Islamic administration. Some even sought shelter in Islamic lands when they were oppressed by other rulers, and found the security they sought in Muslim countries.

It is noted in the Qur’an that compared to members of other communities of believers, Christians will enjoy a particular friendship with Muslims. In this verse God describes how and why Christians are the people closest to Muslims:

... You will find the people most affectionate to those who believe are those who say, “We are Christians.” That is because some of them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant. (Surat al-Ma’ida, 82)

The first instances of the closeness and warm relations described in the verse came in the time of the Prophet of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace). Some oppressed Muslims were advised by the Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and grant him peace) to migrate to Abyssinia, which was under the rule of the Christian King Negus, where they lived in peace and security. Excellent relations were established between Muslims and Christians in the early days of Islam, based on the principles of compassion, peace, respect, cooperation, mutual aid and freedom of religion, belief and worship. Aspects of social life such as marriage, trade and neighborliness were also implemented in such a way as to be role models for all Muslims and Christians.

 

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