The meaning of Islam as a religion is total submission to the will and wishes of Allah. As a way of life, it means peace. This informs one manner of greetings in Islam which goes thus: As-salaam Alaekum waramotulahi wabarakatuhu ( May the peace and blessing of Allah be with you).
Islam is meant to create peaceful coexistence among people living in a society regardless of religion, tribe or political affiliation. It aims at establishing good relationship among the people whether they belong to the same religion or not. Specifically, Allah commands Muslims in the Quran 4 (An-Nisa’) verse 36:
“Worship Allah and join not any partner with Him, and do good to your parents, kinspeople, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near and strangers and companions which your right hand possesses.”
This verse of Surah An-Nisa’ makes it obligatory for all Muslims to establish good relationship with non-muslims. Allah started in the verse by commanding Muslims to worship Him and not to join any partner with Him. He went on to state that muslims should do good to their parents, relatives and neighbours. Allah does not state that the neighbours should be follow muslims before we do good to them. This means that doing good to neighbours is a religious obligation as it is commended along with worship to Allah.
In an Hadith related by Imam Bukhari, he reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not harm or annoy his neighbours…”
In Quran chapter 60 verse 8, Allah says:
لَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُمْ مِنْ دِيَارِكُمْ أَنْ تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
“Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for your faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing justly and kindly with them: for Allah loves those who are equitable.”