Buddhism and Islam


I have a friend who is Buddhist. If he were to move to a majority Islamic country, how would he be treated? Could he practice his religion in public?


Most Muslim countries he wouldn’t have any real problems with practising his religion in public. Some countries that wouldn’t be a good idea to go to though would be Saudi Arabia, since they’re (generally, not all) rather prejudiced against anyone who isn’t a Arab Muslim and he wouldn’t be allowed to practice his religion ‘in public’ there unless he was in a Western compound, as well as Oman. In Iran also wouldn’t be a good idea for a Buddist to go since only Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism are recognised by the government, so your friend would likely find it very difficult to find employment, accomodation etc.

Apart from those countries (which I think he would be wise enough not to move to anyway), he probably wouldn’t find any major problems if he moved to any other Muslim country when it came to religion. I would warn him though that if he’s moving from the West, then most Muslim countries are Third World and he will find life very difficult to adapt to there. This isn’t a religious issue however, but economic/political.


Different countries vary, but in general your friend would not want to make his religious beliefs too public in a Muslim country. According to the ideal Islamic standard however, he would be treated as a second-class citizen (dhimmi) who must pay extra taxes for the “privilege” of living in a Muslim land.


Ah OK. I thougth dhimmitude was only for ‘people of the book’ being Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians.

Are Buddhists entitled to be dhimmi? What about Wiccans?


My understanding is that originally “People of the Book” (Christians and Jews) where given dhimmi status under Islam, but in some areas it extended to Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Mandeans and Buddhists. I can’t say whether or not Wiccans or any other new-age cult would be given dhimmi status under Islam, but I am doubtful they would…


By definition, I don’t think Zoroastrians can be classified among “People of the Book” since they do not profess faith in the God of Abraham. Zoroastrianism was the prominent religion of Persia (modern day Iran) before the arrival of Islam, but they worship the deity called Ahura Mazda.


Good point. I don’t know whether Buddhists would be considered people of the book. You’re right, it was originally intended to be just Christians and Jews.


From what I have read, d’himmi were those “People of the Book” only (Christians and Jews). Later, there was a little tolerance of Zoroastrians because they believe in just one God, but all others had to convert or else…

Prayers and petitions,


You’ve stopped slaying idolaters?


There are very many Buddhist temples that your friend can pray in if he moves to Malaysia which is a predominantly Muslim country.

There are also lots and lots of Hindu and Taoist temples as well as you can see for yourself from the following:



The Islamic state of Afghanistan destroyed an historic carving of Buddha (one can only guess as a mark of respect for Buddhism???)


Different religious groups are divided as thus in Islam

Those who believe (in the Qur’an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Polytheists, Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for Allah is witness of all things. (22:17)

Red = Muslims
Blue = People of the Book
Green = Kafir (would also include atheists)


Kadaveri, could you elaborate on how Zoroastrians are considered “People of the Book” along with Jews and Christians? I don’t see the connection between Ahura Mazda and the God of Abraham.


Because Zoroastrians are considered to be monotheists who *do *believe in God, despite being astray. I don’t think there is much difference between Ahura Mazda and the God of Abraham, especially when you stay strictly within Zoroaster’s teachings and not take into account what innovations were brought into the religion later. Ahura Mazda is always referred to as the omnipotent, omniscient, uncreated Creator of all existence.


Who or what are Sabians?


Depending which Muslim countries your frez is going to. Malaysia are very open to inter religion, follow by Indonesia (i guess) for the rest i believe they are quite strict!!!


Sabians = Mandaeans.


They are monothiets who follow the prophet Jonah . I have met only one of them in my life. That is what i have been told they believe.


According to a Wikipedia article, Zoroastrians were considered “People of the Book.” There’s no source listed for it, though. I’ve seen a book about Zoroastrianism before, but I don’t know how good it is; I didn’t read it entirely…

Here’s the Wikipedia article:

"In the 7th century, the Sassanid dynasty was overthrown by the Arabs. Although some of the later rulers had Zoroastrian shrines destroyed, generally Zoroastrians were included as People of the Book and allowed to practice their religion. Mass conversions to Islam were not desired or imposed[citation needed], in accordance with Islamic law. However, there was a slow but steady movement[citation needed] of the population of Persia toward Islam. The nobility and city-dwellers were the first to convert. Islam spread more slowly among the peasantry and the dihqans, or landed gentry. Later, the jiyza, a poll tax imposed on non-Muslims, probably accelerated the process.

Many Zoroastrians fled, among them several groups who eventually migrated to the western shores of the Indian subcontinent, where they finally settled. According to the Qissa-i Sanjan “Story of Sanjan”, the only existing account of the early years of Zoroastrian refugees in India, the immigrants originated from (greater) Khorasan. The descendants of those and other settlers, who are today known as the Parsis, founded the Indian cities of Sanjan and Navsari, which are said to have been named after the cities of their origin: Sanjan (near Merv, in present-day Turkmenistan) and the eponymous Sari (in modern Mazandaran, Iran). (Kotwal, 2004)

In the centuries following the fall of the Sassanid Empire, Zoroastrianism began to gradually return to the form it had had under the Achaemenids, and no evidence of what is today called the “Zurvan Heresy” exists beyond the 10th century CE. (Boyce, 2002) Ironically, it was Zurvanism and Zurvan-influenced texts that first reached the west, leading to the supposition that Zoroastrianism was a religion with two deities: Zurvan and Ahura Mazda (the latter being opposed by Angra Mainyu).

Today, the number of Zoroastrians is significantly lower than it once was, but the religion is alive and dynamic. Over the centuries, adherents of the faith have dispersed in all directions, but greater concentrations of Zoroastrians may still be found on the Indian subcontinent and in Iran." From en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism

Prayers and petitions,


In Indoneisa they still attack churches

Keep up-to-date…


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