By Clara Egbogota
The Chief Missioner of Nasrul-Lahil-l-Fath Society (NASFAT), Imam Abdul-Azeez Onike, on Tuesday inaugurated the Toronto chapter of NASFAT.
In a paper he delivered at the inauguration of the chapter in Toronto and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, Imam Abdul-Azeez Onike, said that there was the need for peaceful coexistence regardless of faith, race, language, social class and culture.
His lecture was entitled: “Inter-Faith Relations and Peaceful Co-Existence: The Hallmark of Islam.”
According to him, “God does not forbid you’’ is a good admonition for Muslims to ensure good inter-faith relations and peaceful co-existence with one another.
“In other words, Muslims are enjoined to relate with Non-Muslims amicably, with kindness and with justice, unless they are hostile, persecute or drive Muslims out of their homes.
“It further reaffirms that Muslims should not even engage them in argument “except in a most kindly manner” (Q.29:46).
“Muslims are allowed to form alliances, partnerships with organisations which cooperate with non-Muslims for the attainment of common good,’’ he said.
Onike said that Prophet Muhammad associated with an organisation that was interested in promoting equity and justice before the advent of Islam.
The organisation was called “Hilful Fudul’’.
“The existence of certain interfaith marriages permitted to Muslim men is proof of Islam’s favour towards harmonious relationship-building between faith groups.
“Quran 5:5 Muslim men can marry Non-Muslim Women (Ahlu l kitab), but not contrariwise due to: 3) The Qur’an uses a number of terms denoting friendly relations with reference to Muslims as well as Non-Muslims.
“Many esteemed classical commentators of the Qur’an state that verses prescribing kindness to non-aggressive Non-Muslims are not abrogated by subsequently revealed verses.
“The Prophet (SAW) trusted certain Non-Muslims with his life and the lives of other Muslims. The types of individuals that are trustworthy may thus be derived from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
“Non-Muslims may be consulted and assigned positions of trust in technical matters at private or governmental level such as in the fields of medicine, transport, agriculture, industry, military equipment, etc.”
The cleric urged Muslims, especially NASFAT members, not just to be dutiful to their host country, but actively contribute towards improving it.
“This is because Muslims are enjoined to be “the best nation ever raised for mankind” (Q.3:110).