Assalam u alayekum !
From verse 33 and 13 of al maeda we have two different ways to deal with disbelievers. Similarly in sura e tauba particularly, Momineen are ordered to take a hardline approach against disbelievers. In more than one place in Quran, it is said that don’t befriend disbelievers but it is also said that call them towards your way (Islam) with wisdom, which is not possible without getting close culturally and socially to those disbelievers/non-Muslims. I have feared many a times that don’t say salam to any non-Muslim and even if he says salam to you, you may say wa alayekum only implying this on greetings of each culture/language, I think it would create a hatred and repulsion in the hearts of disbelievers towards Islam. All these things make me confused.
Please explain that what should be our behaviour with disbelievers?
wa `alaykum salam,
Some understood the Prophetic prohibition to be one of preference and said you may give salam to a non-Muslim according to several major Companions such as Ibn `Abbas, Abu Umam al-Bahili and Ibn Muhayriz, Allah be well-pleased with them, as mentioned by Imam al-Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim (Book of Salam) and he said it is the position of some of the imams of the Shafi`i School which al-Mawardi mentioned, and Allah knows best.
Hajj Gibril Haddad