Muslims believe in all the Prophets sent by Allah before our Prophet (saas), and love and respect them all equally. Similarly, they also harbor a profound love and respect for those people who were genuinely devoted to these true Prophets and who defended the truth with them. Verses from the Qur’an referring to the peoples of the Prophets read as follows:
You who believe! Be helpers of Allah as Jesus son of Maryam said to the Disciples, ‘Who will be my helpers to Allah?’ The Disciples said, ‘We will be the helpers of Allah.’ One faction of the tribe of Israel believed and the other disbelieved. So We supported those who believed against their enemy and they became victorious. (Surat as-Saff, 14)
... There is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They recite Allah’s signs throughout the night, and they prostrate. They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the righteous. You will not be denied the reward for any good thing you do. Allah knows those who have taqwa [fear of Allah]. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 113-115)
Because Muslims behave according to the Qur’an and the Sunna of our Prophet (saas), they also love the People of the Book. They feel affection for those who remained loyal to Allah’s Prophets and the mission imparted to them. It is for these reasons that there can be no question of a Muslim who has faith in Allah and His Book ever adopting an anti-Semitic line. That is because it is wrong to be anti-Semitic, in other words to harbor enmity toward devout Jews who obeyed the Prophet Moses (as) and his mission. It is unlawful, according to the Qur’an, to feel anger toward the People of Israel because they live by the Torah sent down by Allah to them through the Prophet Moses (as). Such a moral conception is unbecoming of Muslims.
What matters for us is the attitude of our Prophet (saas), who always treated Jews believing in Allah in his own day with great understanding and justice. The People of the Book were treated with great compassion in the time of our Prophet (saas) and the four Caliphs who followed. These people were watched over and protected, and their rights preserved with justice. Our Prophet (saas) both called on them to convert to Islam but also treated them well and allowed them to live by their own faith.
If according to the Qur’an, the attitude to be adopted toward the People of the Book were one of hostility, then the first person to do that would obviously have been our Prophet (saas) himself. The fact is, however, that historic documents make it clear that in the time of our Prophet (saas) and the Caliphs who came after him, devout Jews and other People of the Book who sought shelter with Muslims, asked for protection and did not fight against them were always treated in a loving and protective manner. (You can read more details from here.
Allah clarifies this in these verses:
Allah does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you in the religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them. Allah loves those who are just. (Surat al-Mumtahana, 8)
Those who believe and those who are Jews and the Sabaeans and the Christians, all who believe in Allah and the Last Day and act rightly will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Surat al-Ma’ida, 69)
It is for these reasons that, according to the verses of the Qur’an, it is atheists, associaters that Muslims need to wage an intellectual struggle against, both in the time of our Prophet (saas) and in the present day, and not devout believers. Our Prophet (saas) never fought devout Jews or Christians who believed in the Oneness of Allah. The Prophet (saas) and his companions only fought against atheists and those pagans and hypocrites who did all they could, physically and psychologically, to harm Muslims and prevent the spread of the religion and stop Muslims preaching.
Looking at the battles fought by our Prophet (saas), these were always fought for defensive purposes. In other words, the Prophet (saas) never embarked on war against those who did not declare war on him, and never continued fighting against those who wished to put a stop to it or asked for terms. Our Prophet (saas) remained completely loyal to the conditions regarding war revealed by Allah in the Qur’an. Allah reveals this in the Qur’an on the subject:
Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they have been wronged – truly Allah has the power to come to their support – (Surat al-Hajj, 69)
But if they cease, Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat al-Baqara, 192)
... Do not fight them in the Masjid al-Haram until they fight you there. But if they do fight you, then kill them... (Surat al-Baqara, 191)
Therefore, the history of Islam is full of such examples. For instance, on one occasion the Jews of Haybar came to our Prophet (saas) and said that their goods had been removed by certain Muslims without their permission. At this, the Prophet (saas) gathered the Muslims together in the mosque and told them the property of those with whom treaties had been agreed were sacrosanct and that what they had done was. (Musnad, IV, 89; Vakıdi, II, 691; Serahsi, Siyer, I, 133, IV, 1530) Article 17 of the Medina State Treaty our Prophet (saas) had drawn up in his first years in the city used the expression, “Those of the Jews who join us will be helped and well treated. They will suffer no injustice and their enemies will not be helped.” A
rticle 25 of the same treaty says, “The Jews of the Beni Awf and believers are one Ummah. They will live by their own faith, and Muslims by theirs.”
Article 36 says, “There will be mutual aid, kindness and goodness between Muslims and Jews.”
(Ibn Kathir, as-Sira, II/322; Hamidullah, el-Vesaik, p. 44-45; Co-existence in Western and Western sources, p. 285).
When Abubaqr (ra) captured Tabariyya after our Prophet (saas), the Christians living there were given guarantees that their churches would not be harmed. When Umar (ra) captured Jerusalem he issued a decree to the populace, declaring that the places of worship of the People of the Book would not be harmed.
Another decree issued by Umar (ra) to the Christians of Medain included the principle that “No Christian shall be forced to become a Muslim against his will”.
During the capture, in the time of Uthman (ra), of Debil, an Armenian city, the Christians living there were given a guarantee in a decree that places of worship would be protected.
Permission was always given for damaged churches to be repaired and for new synagogues and monasteries to be built. (For details, please kindly visit here