FAQ (Frequently Argued Qualm) against Islam #2

2. Non-Muslims are not treated equally in Islam as they are not allowed to take up positions of ruling and therefore subjected to mistreatment.

This is often a passionately contested argument by non-Muslims nowadays, as they see this as a form of discrimination. I don’t think we’ve had an honest debate about this and the energy channelled in criticising this tenet is possibly hypocritical.Is it possible for a patriotic Mexican, Pakistani or any other national to become a leader of the United States? No. Is it possible for a patriotic Frenchman, Nigerian or any other national to rule UK? No. Why not? For the simple reason, that they’re not natives of that country and would inevitably not be putting the interests of their nations (who they are supposed to represent as rulers) first.

Now before people get all worked up, I haven’t overlooked the point that people from other ethnic backgrounds or those who originally come from another country but have become citizens of the west, can become rulers in western countries. For instance, Britain has MPs that originally come from Pakistan. Barack Obama is another example. In case that’s the strongest leg of your argument, please note that these people are only allowed to take up positions in ruling after proving their allegiance to the relative state. For example, they have to swear allegiance to the Queen in the UK. Until they have completely abandoned their ‘other’ identity, and embraced the national identity of the country they wish to rule, they are not allowed to run for leadership. Allowing a non-Native (whose allegiance is not to the nation) to become a ruler is regarded as unconstitutional in the western world. Their allegiance to their nation is a pre-requisite for ruling.

Is this law not discriminatory towards people from other nations? Is this not a biased system that doesn’t give equal rights to migrants or non-native citizens living in that particular country? Does this not create conditions where natives are able to exploit the legal system to create unfair laws that target the minority? Practically all arguments used to criticise this tenet of Islam can be applied to the above model.

This acceptance of national allegiance as a requirement for ruling western nations is no different in essence to the principle in Islam that does not allow non-Muslims to rule; for the same simple reason: their interest is not for Islam. Just like a patriot from Mexico would not be putting the interest of the United States first, a non-Muslim cannot take up positions of ruling as they would not put the interests of Islam first. If they become Muslim, they can take up positions of ruling. Just like non-Natives can rule if they take their oaths of allegiance. However, a crucial difference in Islam is that it does not differentiate between people of different racial backgrounds or nationalities (something people don’t have a say in). But rather, the difference is one of thought. Anyone can become a Muslim and rule. Unlike the west where non-natives practically have to beg for citizenship and then still regarded by the public with scepticism when it comes to electing them for leadership.

Non-Muslims, however have their rights secured under Islam. They are required to pay the jizyah (sum of money paid to the state) in exchange for protection. They are not expected to pay the zakat (percentage of savings that Muslims are obliged to pay). Muslims are expected to fight to defend non-Muslims living as citizens of the state. They have equal rights in accounting the ruler, taking Muslims to court and taking the ruler to court if he has been unjust. They also have the right to believe in their respective beliefs and practice marriages and ceremonies accordingly. They are also protected from verbal abuse or insults against them or their beliefs. These rights amongst others are given to them by Islam and not subject to abuse from the secular laws, as is the case in the West.

Not surprisingly, I have yet to come across this ‘prerequisite of national allegiance’ as a criticism in western democracies. It seems that for many, Islam has a monopoly on injustice. Like I have said many times before, the western world appears bent on criticising Islam and any excuse will do.

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9 responses to “FAQ (Frequently Argued Qualm) against Islam #2”

  1. jonolan says :

    I suppose it should also be noted that the jizyah was originally only levied on able-bodied non-Muslim men of an age for military conscription and that such Dhimmis were exempt from such military service.

    They paid more taxes but never had to serve in the military. This is similar to the old European system of scutage or escuage.

  2. honestdebate says :

    thanks for the comment jonolan. It’s an important point.

    honest debate.

  3. kinziblogs says :

    Non-Muslims don’t have full rights secured under Islam, but it doesn’t have anything to do with positions of authority. Christians are allowed to hold positions in government in Jordan, mish?.

    But, as a Christian, I don’t have the right to share my faith, which was the last commandment of Jesus given (go make disciples of all nations). In Jordan, I don’t have the right to use Christian curriculum in a Christian school. If my husband dies, the inheritance is divided differently; but that may have more to do with national law than religious law.

    I’m enjoying your blog. 🙂

  4. MarkCh says :

    Is Islam a country or a religion?

  5. honestdebate says :

    mark, islam is a belief.

    if by your question you’re asking if the spiritual aspect can be separated from politics, then no.

    islam provides within it a mechanism to implement the rules: economics, social, ruling etc. and defines roles, rights and responsibilities.

    honest debate.

  6. MarkCh says :

    Really what I meant was that we need to distinguish between talking about an ideal “Islamic state”, or Muslim states as they actually exist (or have existed) in the world, or are ever likely to exist. http://www.chasingamirage.com/ is a book written by a Muslim Canadian on this issue. I haven’t read it (yet), but I would be interested to hear what you have to think.

  7. honestdebate says :

    thanks mark,

    valid question. I’m already thinking of posting some new material regarding islam of the past. you’re not the only one who’s wondering how much of this theory can actually be put into practice.

    trouble is, resources are difficult to find, history has almost deleted this part. in most parts of the Muslim world, their national history (taught in schools) begins from the year of independence from colonialism.

    watch this space for more material on this. if i can remember, i might just drop in a reminder for you.

    i haven’t heard of the book. will look into this.

    honest debate

  8. honestdebate says :

    hi kinziblogs,

    overlooked your comment for a while there. glad you’re taking part. i agree, it’s probably a national or cultural law rather than a religious one.

  9. jonolan says :


    Shari’a only restricts inheritances between Muslims and non-Muslims. It doesn’t have any strictures governing inheritances between non-Muslims, so this does sound like national thing as opposed to a religious one.

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