“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart (ashidda’u) against the disbelievers, compassionate among themselves.” (48:29)
See here the Urdu text of a speech on this verse by Maulana Muhammad Ali in December 1924.
What Maulana Muhammad Ali has translated as “firm of heart” is variously translated as “hard”, “stern”, “harsh”. As the Maulana points out in his speech, classical commentaries of the Quran have given interpretations along the lines that this teaches that Muslims must degrade and crush non-Muslims, or that when they see a non-Muslim they should give him a very angry, frowned look “as a lion views its prey”. Some have gone as far as to say that a Muslim’s body must not touch that of a non-Muslim, nor his clothing touch the clothing worn by a non-Muslim.
I myself have read in a history book by a Pakistani scholar that the ulama of the Moghul emperors of India advised them that, according to Islam, when they see a non-Muslim they are required to turn their face away in displeasure.
The Maulana says that surely the true meaning of being ashidda’u against the disbelievers would have been illustrated in the practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad towards the unbelievers. He then gives examples from his life of how he dealt with them, and says: Those meanings which are in the minds or are expressed by the commentators are totally wrong.
This speech seems very relevant to Muslims today, as in the modern world they have an increasing daily interacting with non-Muslims. I, for one, found this speech to be a remarkable illustration of how the Ahmadiyya Movement has corrected wrong and harmful conceptions of Islam held by Muslims themselves.