“Say, “O disbelievers,
I do not worship what you worship.
Nor are you worshippers of what I worship.
Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship.
Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.
For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” (Qur’an 109)
It is commonly misunderstood that believer and disbeliever can follow their own way of life, rather Quran emphasises that mankind should live their lives as per ordained by God. However, it’s completely wrong assumption that I stay on my religion and you stay on your we both are right. Instead if we read the entire chapter we will understand it. It starts with : Say : O disbelievers! I don’t worship what you worship (this is to emphasize that a believer worships God, and a disbeliever in God will only worship falsehood and desires by associating partners with God) then at last it say to you be your ‘way’ and to me be mine.
This means even after acknowledging every kind of arguments, proofs, signs, and revelations from God, if one insist upon falsehood then be it, and they will eventually realise everything in the hereafter (but it will be too late then, there won’t be any second chance there). So this verse and chapter is a rhetorical argument with the disbelievers.The concept of calling other to the truth and striving for it, still very much exists and it does not get affected by this verse at all. In that sense Chapter Kaffirun is the last arguments, final stage of Dawah with the disbelievers. Before that we (Muslim) need to convey the message of Islam at the best possible way. And we can’t deny or refuse our responsibility by saying it’s already mentioned in the Quran so we to don’t need to bother.
Said bin Mina (the freed slave of Abul Bakhtari) has related that Walid bin Mughirah, As bin Wail, Aswad bin al-Muttalib and Umayyah bin Khalaf met the Holy Prophet pbuh and said to him:”O Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings), let us agree that we would worship your God and you would worship our gods, and we would make you a partner in all our works. If what you have brought was better than what we possess, we would be partners in it with You, and have our share in it, and if what we possess is better than what you have brought, you would be partner in it with us and have your share of it.”At this Allah sent down:(Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Hisham also has related this incident in the ).
From above Hadith too, it is clear that we should never ever compromise with our religion and persistently give dawah. Dawah has to be done sincerely for Allah’s sake, and not for any worldly cause. And our duty is just to convey.
EDIT (Additional Para) : At different times the people of Quraish said to Allah’s’ Messenger: “If you like we would enter your faith for a year and you would enter our faith for a year.”(Abd bin Humaid, Ibn Abi Hatim).
These traditions show that the Quraish had proposed such things to the Holy Prophet not once, in one sitting, but at different times and on different occasions; and there was need that they should be given a definite, decisive reply so that their hope that he would come to terms with them on the principle of “give and take” was frustrated for ever. Actually they wanted to test Prophet pbuh by offering such proposal and wanted to see his reactions to these ideas. They found him sincere and honest in the mission of God, couldn’t compromise with anything for it. All their desires were shattered when they realised that he can not be easily bribed.
According to Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas, the Quraish proposed to the Holy Prophet; “We shall give you so much of wealth that you will become the richest man of Makkah; we shall give you whichever woman you like in marriage; we are prepared to follow and obey you as our leader, only on the condition that you will not speak ill of our gods. If you do not agree to this, we present another proposal which is to your as well as to our advantage.”When the Holy Prophet asked what it was, they said that if he would worship their gods, Lat and Uzza, for a year, they would worship his God for the same space of time.
The Holy Prophet said: “Wait awhile; let me see what my Lord commands in this regard.” Thereupon the revelation came down: and: (Az-Zumar: 64): “Say to them: ignorant people do you bid me to worship others than Allah?” (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Tabarani). According to another tradition from Ibn Abbas, the Quraish said to the Holy Prophet: “O Muhammad, if you kiss our gods, the idols, we shall worship your God.”Thereupon, this Surah was sent down. (Abd bin Humaid).
It carries an extremely important lesson for us that we can learn from the incident cited above that how strong belief Prophet Muhammad’s pbuh had! And the relationship with the Qur’an was so strong that never bowed to any kind of pressure except God. He recited the verses from God’s Book to seek His protection. He used to recite it to strengthen and soothe his own soul in difficult times. So seek God’s help through His own blessed words. Make the Book our guidance and our stress-buster. And only ask God to illuminate us with the light of His Glorious book!
May God guide us to the straight path. Ameen