Allegations of Islamic Supremacy

Introduction

It is alleged that several verses of the Holy Quran state the inferior status of non-Muslims or non-believers. Several verses are cherry-picked and presented plainly without any reconciliation with the teachings of the Holy Quran and the practice of Holy Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace). However, a study of the Islamic teachings clearly show that the Quran does not permit demeaning anyone on the basis of their faith, and the Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) has a great historical legacy as a secular leader in Medina who established the equality of all citizens before the state, regardless of their religion.

3:29 - "Muslims Should Befriend Only Other Muslims"

Let not the believers take disbelievers for friends in preference to believers – and whoever does that has no connection with Allah – except that you cautiously guard against them. And Allah cautions you against His punishment; and to Allah is the returning.

It is alleged that this verse commands Muslims to take only Muslims as friends and everyone else an enemy, the truth of this verse is far from it.

3:119 - "Take only muslims as friends"

O ye who believe! take not others than your own people as intimate friends; they will not fail to corrupt you. They love to see you in trouble. Hatred has already shown itself through the utterances of their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater still. We have made clear to you Our commandments, if you will understand.

The allegation against this verse is that it instructs Muslims not befriend non-Muslims, thus it encourages a sense of Islamic supremacy leading to animosity towards non-Muslims. However, the verse makes no such assertion.

4:142 - "Allah will grant victory only to muslims"

Those who wait for news concerning you. If you have a victory from Allah, they say, ‘Were we not with you?’ And if the disbelievers have a share of it, they say to them, ‘Did we not get the better of you, and protect you against the believers?’ Allah will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection; and Allah will not grant the disbelievers a way to prevail against the believers.

The allegation against this verse is that the phrase “and Allah will not grant the disbelievers a way to prevail against the believers” encourages a sense of supremacy to non-Muslims.

49:11 - "Only Muslims Are Brothers Deserving Of Peace"

Surely all believers are brothers. So make peace between brothers, and fear Allah that mercy may be shown to you.

It is alleged that this verse proclaims that only Muslims can have a true brotherhood with peace among themselves. The Quran expounds that peace among all peoples is the desired state, military conflict should be the last option.

Fundamental Teachings of Islam

The following verse of the Holy Quran makes it clear that Islam endorses a universal belief in God whether such people be Jews, Sabians, Christians or others.

(Quran 5:70) Surely those who have believed in Muhammad as a Messenger of God, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians—whoso believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds, on them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve.

The first chapter of the Quran known as Surah Fatiha begins with the verse, “All Praises be to the Lord of All the Worlds. Muslims recite these words several times during each of the five daily prayers.The verse does not read “Lord of the Muslims” or “Lord of the Believers;” instead, the meaning of the Arabic words  encompasses all peoples, races and nations on earth. This also endorses the principle of universalism in Islam.

Moreover, the religion of Islam by virtue of its Articles of Faith requires Muslims to believe in all the Books and Prophets of God. The Quran states that warners (or prophets) have visited all peoples (13:8). Commenting on these unique Islamic teachings, His Holiness Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (1889-1965), the second Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, writes:

The followers of some religions believe that God stands in a peculiar relationship towards them from which all other human beings are excluded. They believe that though God is the Creator of the whole universe He is in a special sense the God of a particular people, for instance, the Israelites or the Hindus or the Zoroastrians. The Quran rejects this doctrine and teaches that not only is God unique in His being but that He is the source of the whole universe. The word Ahad occurring in the first verse of Sura Ikhlas means unique and also unity, that is to say, the source which is itself outside numbers but from which all numbers proceed. This verse indicates that God is equally the guide of the whole of mankind and entertains no special attachment to any particular people. Those who strive to attain nearness to Him He guides along the paths that lead to Him. Arabs, Jews, Persians, Indians, Chinese, Greeks and Africans are all equal in His sight, for He is the source of the creation of all of them.
(p. 406, Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur’an)

Further, below are excerpts from the renowned Farewell Address of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) that expounds on a universal brotherhood and equality among all peoples, Muslim and non-Muslim.

O men, what I say to you, you must hear and remember. All Muslims are as brethren to one another. All of you are equal. All men, whatever nation or tribe they may belong to, and whatever station in life they may hold, are equal.

While he was saying this the Prophet raised his hands and joined the fingers of the one hand with the fingers of the other and then said:

Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, any superiority to claim over another. You are as brothers.

Proceeding, the Prophet said:

Do you know what month this is? What territory we are in? What day of the year it is today?

The Muslims said in reply that they knew it was the sacred month, the sacred land and the day of the Hajj.

Then the Prophet said:

Even as this month is sacred, this land inviolate, and this day holy, so has God made the Iives, property and honor of every man sacred. To take any man's life or his property, or attack his honor, is as unjust and wrong as to violate the sacredness of this day, this month, and this territory. What I command you today is not meant only for today. It is meant for all time. You are expected to remember it and to act upon it until you leave this world and go to the next to meet your Maker.