The word “Muslim” refers to an individual who submits himself to Allah’s will completely by his own choice. It is the individual’s love for his Lord which makes him submissive to His orders and compliant with His doctrines. Islam cannot be imposed upon anyone. It is a choice and a commitment that one can only make willingly.
“There is no compulsion in [accepting] religion. The right course has become clear from error.” [The Qur’an, 2: 256]
The religion teaches that if an individual wishes to embrace it, help him out. If someone doesn’t want to take it up as their religion, let them be. Every one of the human beings has a right to choose their religion and see the rights and wrongs himself. Allah says in Qur’an:
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Ever Merciful,
Say, O ye disbelievers, I worship not as you worship,
Nor do you worship as I worship
Nor do I worship those that you worship
Nor do you worship Him Whom I worship,
For you your religion and for me my religion.” [Qur’an, 109: 1-6]
If you wish to preach the religion, show them the true meaning of it. Preaching comprises the delivering of messages through kind words and actions, not force:
“And if your Lord had enforced His will, surely, all who are on the earth would have believed together.
Will you, then, force men to become believers?” [Qur’an, 10: 100]
Since it is a religion of peace, it asks its followers to be kind and merciful to everyone. On multiple occasions, hadith and Qur’an orders Muslims to care for their parents, relatives, neighbors, orphans, women, children, elderly, sick, and, in general, everyone. A point which is interesting (and contradictory to the popular belief) to note here is that the receiver of the kindness does not have to be a Muslim. Muslims must be kind to every individual, regardless of their race or religion. In Qur’an, Allah Ta’ala reveals the quality of a good Muslim in these words:
“And they give food in spite of their love for it to the poor, the orphan, and the captive, [Saying]: We feed you only for the acceptance of Allah. We wish neither from you reward nor gratitude.” [Qur’an, 76: 8-9]
For Non-Muslims who never harm Islam must never be harmed. They must be treated well. According to Qur’an:
“Allah does not forbid you concerning those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes from being righteous toward them and acting justly towards them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” [Qur’an, 60: 8]
Islam teaches its believers to respect others’ beliefs, too. This does not mean that they accept the lordship for any other deity except Allah but it is an acceptance of the diversity and individuality which is prevalent among the mankind.
“And abuse not those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they, out of spite abuse Allah in their ignorance.” [Qur’an, 6: 109]
If you hear someone say that Islam is a religion of zero tolerance, then he isn’t entirely wrong either. Yes, Islam has zero tolerance for social injustice and those who wage war against Allah.
“And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated? Men, women, and children, whose cry is: ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors, and raise for us from your side one who will protect, and raise for us from your side one who will help.” [Qur’an, 4: 75]
But no one else, as is mentioned in Qur’an:
“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors.” [Qur’an, 2: 190]