Aal-Imran · Juz 3 · Qur'an Tafseer

When Discussing Deen with Other People, Talk About Similarities Not the Differences

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayah 64

In his tafseer, Ma’arif ul Qur’an, Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani (ra) terms this ayah as, “An Important Principle of Tabligh and Da’wah.”

The principle states that when calling people to Islam, especially those who follow a different religion or belief system, we should unite ourselves on something that we agree.

Ibn Katheer writes: This ayah includes the People of the Book, the Jews and Christians, and those who follow their ways.

The word kalimatin [كَلِمَةٍ] from the root kaf-laam-meem translated in the ayah as “a word,” in the Arabic language also means a complete sentence. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala described the word as being one, “that is equitable between us and you,” meaning an honest and righteous word that is fair to both the parties.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala describes this word, “that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him.” It means we worship neither a status, cross, idol, Taghoot [false gods], fire or anything else.

[What is Jibt and Taghoot?]

Rather, we worship Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala alone without partners, and this is the message of all of Allah’s Messengers. We find evidence for this in the Qur’an.

In Surah Al-Anbiya, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ

“And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, ‘There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.’” (Qur’an 21:25)

In Surah An-Nahl, He says,

وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ ۖ

“And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], ‘Worship Allah and avoid Taghoot.’” (Qur’an 16:36)

“…and not take one another as lords instead of Allah,” Ibn Jurayj commented, “We do not obey each other in disobedience to Allah.”

“But if they turn away, then say, ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him.” It means that if after the invitation to a common word they abandon the call, then let them know that you will remain in Islam as Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has legislated for you.

Here, we need to read the letter that Prophet Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent to Heraclius.

[Video: Prophet Muhammad’s Letter to the Roman Emperor Heraclius]

Muhammad bin Ishaq and other scholars said that the beginning of Surah Aal-Imran, and more than 80 ayaat thereafter, were revealed about the delegation of Najran.

Az-Zuhri stated that the people of Najran were the first people to pay the Jizyah [tax money paid to the Muslim State]. However, there is no disagreement that the ayah that ordained the Jizyah (9:29) was revealed after the Fath [conquering Makkah, and therefore, after the delegation of Najran came to Al-Madinah]. So, how can this Ayah (3:64) be contained in the Prophet’s letter to Heraclius before the victory of Makkah, and how can we harmonize between the statements of Muhammad bin Ishaq and Az-Zuhri?

[Hadeeth Commentary: Abu Sufyan’s Testimony for the Prophet (SA)]

The answer is that the delegation of Najran came before Al-Hudaybiyyah (before the victory of Makkah), and what they paid was in lieu of the Mubahalah; not as Jizyah. The ayah about the Jizyah was later revealed, and its ruling supported what occurred with the Najran people.


-We learn the important principle of tabligh and da’wah: talk on common grounds, and when a difference of opinion arises then look at the command of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and the teachings of Rasoolullah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and abandon the argument. This is an advice for when communicating with people of other faith as well as when talking to a fellow Muslim.

-If we follow any command or instruction, which is against the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then this falls under Shirk.

[In Allah Matters, Give Precedence to the Book of Allah]

No one can declare something permissible or impermissible [halal or haram] except Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. And if we read a hadith where the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stops us from something and commands us to do something, then this too is from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala through Wahi-Ka’fi [hidden revelation].

-A scholar’s opinion or a fatwa has no value if it is against any ayah of the Qur’an or an authentic hadith. Imam Abu Hanifa said, “When I say something contradicting the Book of Allah, the Exalted, or what is narrated from the Messenger (), then ignore my saying.” [Iqadh Himam Ulil albab by Imam Salih al Fulani, p, 50.]. He also said, “When a hadith is found to be saheeh [authentic], then that is my adopted position.” [Hashiya of Ibn ‘Abidin, Vol 1 p, 63. Iqadh Himam Ulil albab by Imam Salih al Fulani, p.62.] He didn’t say, follow me blindly and without any questions because I am your Imam, as many people falsely believe. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guide us to the truth and keep us safe from falsehood, ameen.

[Understanding the Statements of the Illustrious Imams]

-No man has the authority to declare things haram or halal, this is a right that only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has. Therefore, we need to be careful about the sources from where we are taking our guidance. There is no room for innovations or Shirk in our religion.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayah 64

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم                
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

2 thoughts on “When Discussing Deen with Other People, Talk About Similarities Not the Differences

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