In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Indeed, Allaah created [Jinn and humankind] and gave them an innate disposition to recognise Tawheed, obey Him and worship Him alone; but they differed – some of them believed and others disbelieved. Allaah said: [هُوَ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُمۡ فَمِنكُمۡ ڪَافِرٌ۬ وَمِنكُم مُّؤۡمِنٌ۬ۚ – He it is Who created you, then some of you are disbelievers and some of you are believers]. [64:2]
Allaah wishes Eemaan and well-being for them, but shaytaan and the callers to evil wish disbelief and evil for them. Allaah [The Exalted] said:
يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَكُمۡ وَيَہۡدِيَڪُمۡ سُنَنَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ وَيَتُوبَ عَلَيۡكُمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ۬
وَٱللَّهُ يُرِيدُ أَن يَتُوبَ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ وَيُرِيدُ ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ ٱلشَّہَوَٲتِ أَن تَمِيلُواْ مَيۡلاً عَظِيمً۬ا
Allaah wishes to make clear (what is lawful and what is unlawful) to you, and to show you the ways of those before you, and accept your repentance, and Allaah is All-Knower, All-Wise. Allaah wishes to accept your repentance, but those who follow their lusts, wish that you (believers) should deviate tremendously away from the Right Path.’ [4:26-27]
And due to this, Allaah sent the Messengers, revealed the Books and established His Proofs; so, there are those amongst humankind who accept the truth and embrace Eeemaan by choice, and there are those who reject the truth and embrace disbelief by choice. Indeed, Allaah has laid down the differences between the Muminoon and the Kaafiroon in this life and the next, and He forbade that the two groups are made equal. Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] has set out recompense and judgment for each of the two groups in this life and the next. He has given a distinguished name to every group; such as [Mumin – believer], [Kaafir- disbeliver], [Barrun- upright/righteous one], [Faajir – evildoer], [Mushrik- Polytheist], [Muwahhid- Monotheist], [Faasiq- sinner], [Munaafiq- hypocrite], [Mutee’un – an obedient one] and [Aasee- a disobedient one]. And He [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] forbade that equality is made between these differing names and attitudes. Allaah said:
أَمۡ حَسِبَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱجۡتَرَحُواْ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ أَن نَّجۡعَلَهُمۡ كَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ
Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah Islaamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds. [45:2]
And Allaah said: [ أَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ كَٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ أَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ كَٱلۡفُجَّارِ – Shall We treat those who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah Islaamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, as Mufsidoon (those who associate partners in worship with Allaah and commit crimes) on earth? Or shall We treat the Muttaqoon (the pious ones), as the Fujjaar (criminals, disbelievers, wicked, etc)’ [38:28]- meaning: We have not made them equal because that does not befit Allaah’s Justice.
Should we abandon the words [Kufr, Shirk, Kuffaar and Mushrikeen] found in the Qur’aan, the Sunnah and the Books of Islaamic creed? This will be a violation of the Book and the Sunnah, and an opposition to Allaah and His Messenger. By changing the real meanings of the Sharee’ah terms, we will be from those who distort the Book of their Lord and the Sunnah of their Messenger. Then what defence can be given for [such a deed]- is it to please the Kuffaar? The disbelievers will never be pleased with us until we abandon our religion. Allaah [The Exalted] said:
وَلَن تَرۡضَىٰ عَنكَ ٱلۡيَہُودُ وَلَا ٱلنَّصَـٰرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَہُمۡۗ
Never will the Yahood nor the Nasaaraa be pleased with you [O Muhammad Peace be upon him] till you follow their religion. [2:120]
Allaah said: [ وَدُّواْ لَوۡ تَكۡفُرُونَ كَمَا كَفَرُواْ فَتَكُونُونَ سَوَآءً۬ۖ – They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another)'[4:89]
And if the intention of those who call for the substitution of the sharee’ah terminologies is to show gentleness to the kuffaar and to have good dealings with them, then this cannot be [done] by changing such sharee’ah terminologies; rather it can only be [done] through what Allaah has legislated regarding their affair. This comprises of the following affairs:
1.To invite them to Islaam, which is the religion Allaah has ordained for all of humakind. Allaah said: [ٱدۡعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِٱلۡحِكۡمَةِ وَٱلۡمَوۡعِظَةِ ٱلۡحَسَنَةِۖ وَجَـٰدِلۡهُم بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحۡسَنُۚ – Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islaam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur’aan) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. [16:125] Therefore, we invite them (to Islaam) for their rectification and happiness in this life and the next.
2.To make peace with them if they seek that. Allaah said: [وَإِن جَنَحُواْ لِلسَّلۡمِ فَٱجۡنَحۡ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ – But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and (put your) trust in Allaah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [8:61]
Likewise, to make peace with them if the Muslims are in need of making peace, and when there is an overriding benefit for the Muslims in making peace; just as the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) made peace with the kuffaar at Hudaibiyyah. And by virtue of peace, diplomacy is (established) between them and the Muslims.
3.Not to be hostile towards them without due right. Allaah said: [وَلَا يَجۡرِمَنَّڪُمۡ شَنَـَٔانُ قَوۡمٍ عَلَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعۡدِلُواْۚ ٱعۡدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقۡرَبُ لِلتَّقۡوَىٰۖ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرُۢ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ – And let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allaah]. [5:8]
4.To behave well towards those of them who behave well towards the Muslims; those who neither kill nor drive Muslims out of their homes. Allaah said:
لَّا يَنۡهَٮٰكُمُ ٱللَّهُ عَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمۡ يُقَـٰتِلُوكُمۡ فِى ٱلدِّينِ وَلَمۡ يُخۡرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَـٰرِكُمۡ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمۡ وَتُقۡسِطُوٓاْ إِلَيۡہِمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُقۡسِطِينَ
Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allaah loves those who deal with equity. [60:8]
5: To have permissible beneficial dealings with them; in trade, exchange of beneficial information and utilization of the worldly sciences, and things that are of benefit in our lives.
6: To fulfil contacts made with them, and to honour the blood, wealth and rights of the Mu-aahideen (i.e. those none-muslims who have a treaty with the Muslims) because it is binding upon them to (fulfil their covenants with the Muslims) and the Muslims are to (fulfil their covenants with them). Allaah said: [فَمَا ٱسۡتَقَـٰمُواْ لَكُمۡ فَٱسۡتَقِيمُواْ لَهُمۡۚ – So long, as they are true to you, stand you true to them]. 9:7
And the ones forbidden to be killed are the Muslim and the Mu’aahid [i.e. the non-Muslim who has a treaty with the Muslims]. And indeed the Prophet said about the killing of a Mu’aahid, “Whoever kills a Mu’aahid will not even smell the fragrance of paradise and its fragrance can be smelled from the distance of forty years away”. [Bukhaari: No: 3166]
And whoever kills a Mu’aahid by mistake, it is as if he has killed a Muslim by mistake. He must pay blood money as expiation. Allaah said: [وَإِن ڪَانَ مِن قَوۡمِۭ بَيۡنَڪُمۡ وَبَيۡنَهُم مِّيثَـٰقٌ۬ فَدِيَةٌ۬ مُّسَلَّمَةٌ إِلَىٰٓ أَهۡلِهِۦ وَتَحۡرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ۬ مُّؤۡمِنَةٍ۬ۖ – And if he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance, compensation (blood money – Diya) must be paid to his family, and a believing slave must be freed]. [4:92]
And finally, I advise these ones [those who called for a change of the sharee’ah terminologies] to repent to Allaah. They should not enter into an affair which they have neither mastered nor is it [something] they have specialized in, because that would be tantamount to speaking about Allaah without knowledge. Indeed, Allaah stated: [وَلَا تَقۡفُ مَا لَيۡسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلۡمٌۚ – ‘And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge]17:36
Allaah said: [قُلۡ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّىَ ٱلۡفَوَٲحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنۡہَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَٱلۡإِثۡمَ وَٱلۡبَغۡىَ بِغَيۡرِ ٱلۡحَقِّ وَأَن تُشۡرِكُواْ بِٱللَّهِ مَا لَمۡ يُنَزِّلۡ بِهِۦ سُلۡطَـٰنً۬ا وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ – ‘Say (O Muhammad): (But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawaahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allaahfor which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge]. [7:33]
Allaah placed speaking about Him without knowledge in a level above shirk due to its seriousness. And if it the case that these ones are aware of the subject matter regarding specialist knowledge and that a person cannot enter into that which is not his domain, just as one does not enter into the affair of medicine because it is not his domain, then why do they enter into the affairs of the sharee’ah, rather they enter into the most serious affairs of the sharee’ah, and that is the subject matter of Aqeedah, even though it is something they are not specialised in. I do not desire anything from this [speech] except to give advice and clarification.
[Source: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Bayaan Li-Akhtaa’i Ba’dil Kuttaab. 2/177-180. By Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullaah). Slightly paraphrased]