بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم
(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)
Since we need to understand what the Qur’an teaches about religious tolerance we must first define what tolerance is According to the Cambridge Dictionary
- tolerance noun (ACCEPTANCE) willingness to accept behavior and beliefs that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them:
- tolerance noun (ABILITY TO DEAL WITH) the ability to deal with something unpleasant or annoying, or to continue existing despite bad or difficult conditions:
Tolerant with Nations, Communities, Tribes Tolerant dealing with people, e.g. neighbors, siblings Tolerant dealing with value systems Eg Wearing Sleeveless Vs. Wearing Abaya , Tolerant dealing with religion Tolerant dealing with beliefs systems e.g. Man was from Adam Vs. man came from Ape ,and the list goes on.
Being tolerant does not mean that one accepts the other to be true; but in being tolerant one respects another’s right to free will to choose what to believe.
We have revealed unto you the Scripture with the Truth, to confirm and protect the Scripture which came before it … For each We have appointed a Law and a Way. Had Allah willed, He could have made you one community. But that He might try you by that which He has given you [He has made you as you are]. So vie with one another in good works. Unto Allah you will all return, and He will inform you of that wherein you differed’ (Al Maidah: 48).
Example Do you know who devised the first multi-faith and multi-cultural constitution in the world that gave people their rights and outlined their responsibilities? The Constitution of Medina -A Multi-faith Society .
The points of Sahifah / Constitution of Medina were:
• The three groups living there (Yahood/Jews, Ansar and Muhajirun) were described by Prophet Muhammed (saw.) as one community, ummah wahidah.
• Everybody living in Medina agreed to accept the final authority of Allah and His Messenger
• Everybody agreed with the choice of the twelve people who would organize the community
• Everybody agreed to co-operate to ensure law and order • Everybody was entitled to protection and support
• Everybody was entitled to pray as they wished – Lakum deena kum waliyadeen “For you is your religion and for me is my religion.” (To you be your way, and to me mine) (109:6)
• Everybody was expected to defend Medina
• Everybody was expected to pay their taxes This Constitution encouraged Muslims and non-Muslims to live together in peace, It gave protection and rights to non-Muslims. Following this constitution how should we interact with non-Muslims?
“O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, Nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one’s brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: “O sinner”, or “O wicked”]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zâlimûn (wrong-doers). “O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting) . And fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful” “O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqun (pious – see V.2:2). Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Hujuraat:11-13)
Why has Allah chosen this diversity in revelations and plurality of communities? Allah encompasses all things ‘in mercy and knowledge’ He also says “Had Allah willed, He could have made you one community”, Well this is intended to stimulate a healthy ‘competition’ or mutual enrichment in the domain of ‘good works’. Differences of opinion are inevitable but these differences are to be tolerated on the human ground and Allah says it will be finally resolved in the Hereafter.
Our task is to
1.Accept all the communities as they are
2.Convey the message of Islam to each and every person, community, nation – this is our main goal.
We not to force any one into conversion. La ikra ha fedeen “Let there be no compulsion in religion: ” [Baqarah:226]
‘If they are averse, We have not sent you as a guardian over them: your duty is but to convey the message (Shura:48).
The choice is theirs. When is a person able to choose? When he has 2 things before him right? If he has 2 wrong choices,it’s obvious he will chose one of the two, but if we present our “Choice/Islam” before them there are 50% chances they will chose ours. The ball is in our court unless we give them that “DAWAH”
“Nor are the two bodies of flowing water alike, for one is palatable, sweet, and pleasant to drink, while the other is salty and bitter. Yet from each you eat fresh and tender meat and extract ornaments to wear. You see ships therein that sail through the waves that you may seek the bounty of Allah and be grateful. (Faatir:12)
Yet again he says
“And it is He Who has let free the two seas, this is palatable and sweet, and that is salty and bitter; and He has set a barrier and a complete partition between them” (Furqaan:53) And the ayah continues “And it is He Who has created man from water
There are 2 types of water
1. one is palatable, sweet, and pleasant to drink
2.The other is salty and bitter
An analogy can be made here. 60% of man is made from water. Just like the palatable, sweet, and pleasant to drink water one category of people are pleasant, soft, easy to dealt with, but simultaneously there is another category of people who are salty and bitter, a bit tough to deal with, yet we can benefit from them just like we can benefit from the salty water. But hey we don’t go to change the salty water to make it sweet, do we? We benefit from each just as they are. Similarly we make ourselves tolerant to the shortcomings of the bitter people, and yet benefit from them as well….which will help us in attaining our GOAL and the pleasure of Allah swt.
What did I mention our GOAL was?
Once there were four men who spread an accusation of immorality against the Holy Prophet’s wife Aisha. Their allegation was ultimately proved to be false because they failed to back it up with any witnesses. One of the four men, called Mistah, used to receive financial assistance from Abu Bakr, Aisha’s father. After this incident, Abu Bakr swore never again to help Mistah. The following verse was revealed to the Holy Prophet on this occasion: ﴿وَلاَ يَأْتَلِ أُوْلُواْ الْفَضْلِ مِنكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَن يُؤْتُواْ أُوْلِى الْقُرْبَى وَالْمَسَـكِينَ وَالْمُهَـجِرِينَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُواْ وَلْيَصْفَحُواْ أَلاَ تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“Let not the possessors of grace and means among you swear against giving to the near relatives and the poor and those who had to flee in Allah’s way. Pardon and overlook. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you?” (Nur:22)
Hearing this, Abu Bakr exclaimed: “Indeed, I certainly love that Allah should forgive me”(Bukhari,Book: ‘Testimony ‘ch. 15)
He then resumed providing assistance to Mistah, as before. This is what tolerance actually is…
Islam teaches us respect and love for others and teaches us to accept that difference are all part of Allah’s design.
Islam does not teach tit for tat, this for that…NO, not at all….
‘In a place called Ta’if, the people treated Prophet Muhammad very badly, so much so that he was hurt physically. The angel Jibril (Gabriel) came to his aid and asked him to give the command and he would destroy the whole valley. The Prophet refused. Instead he forgave the people and prayed for them, hoping that good would come out of their future generations. ’Question: What do we learn from this story? When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was faced with ignorant or abusive behavior, he became all the more forbearing. .
We interact with Muslims and Non Muslim’s everyday in our lives, don’t we?
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the best example of forbearance anyone could hope to find. He was abused continuously while spreading Allah’s Message to the people.
ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ
“Repel (the evil) with one which is better, ” (Fussilat:34)
Anas ibn Malik reported: I was walking with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, while he was wearing a Najrani sheet with a thick border. A desert Arab overtook the Prophet and forcibly pulled his clothes. I looked at the shoulder of the Prophet and I saw that the edge of his shirt had left a mark because of the strength of his pull. The man said, “O Muhammad! Order them to give me something from Allah’s wealth which you have!” The Prophet turned and he smiled. Then he ordered that he be given charity. Source: Sahih Bukhari 5738, Grade: Sahih
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to Ashajj b. Qays: “You possess two qualities that Allah loves: forbearance and patience.” [Sahīh Muslim (17-18)]
Since Allah loves this trait so much, this is why we find that the majority of the Prophets showed almost superhuman levels of forbearance to their people.)
Notice that we can’t tolerate someone unless we disagree with him. This is critical. We don’t “tolerate” people who share our views. They’re on our side. There’s nothing to put up with. Tolerance is reserved for those we think are wrong.
But the closer you come to Deen that much more you are supposed to become courteous and kind, and generous and understanding and forgiving of others. That’s what you are supposed to be instead of looking at someone who is living in ignorance.
A lot of Muslims do ignorant things nowadays. Maybe your friends do it and you don’t do it anymore. You and I was that guy a few years ago. That was you/me? Who guided you/me? You guided yourself?
The honor of our messenger , the nobility, the respect, the love of our messenger, the status of our messenger ﷺ, is not something we give him; is not something that comes from human beings. It came from the sky. It came from Allah. Nobody on the earth can take it away. Because it comes from the sky. The Quran has come from the sky. People can burn copies of it, people can make fun of it, people can make pieces of it; it will not insult the Quran; because the Quran is in Laohe Mahfudh. It cannot be insulted. It is above these insults. Our messenger’s honor is above them. When Allah azawajal has given our messenger ‘Makaamal Mahmooda’,who can take that away?
And so conversations of such matter first of all shouldn’t make you violent. You shouldn’t be angry with the people who insulted Allah’s messenger. You should feel sorry for them. You should feel sorry how stupid, how sad they are. They cannot hurt Allah messenger ﷺ. They can’t even hurt our Deen. The only one they can hurt is themselves. That’s the only one they can hurt.
Our job in this world today, is to be ambassadors of this Deen. Is to let people know what Islam is. Do your neighbours, friends know what Islam is? No. There are people who live next door for years, and they don’t know what Islam is.
The real issue isn’t that are we less or more tolerant. The real issue is we don’t have a fundamental education in our own Deen.
That’s the real issue. We don’t know that our Deen makes us civil, makes us decent, makes us patient, makes us not reactionary, it gives us control over our emotion, it doesn’t let us run by our emotions, it doesn’t turn us into these Lab Rats. WHAT?
You can play with them. Just poke them a little bit and they go crazy. And we play right into it every time. And the only one that benefits from these, are the people who started the events that we get angry with.
And by the way, if there’s anything that is harmed is the effort of Da’wah. Remember our GOAL. Now if I talk to somebody about Islam, I can’t talk to them about Allah, I can’t talk to them about our messenger ﷺ, I can’t talk to them about our Quran, I first have to talk about that all the Muslims are not that crazy.
I can’t talk about my Deen anymore, cause I have to talk about the stupidity of the Muslims. Of a young immature Muslim who’s easily manipulated. We are responsible to educate our youth and the youth across the Ummah. Ya Ikhwati, At times of crisis, the first thing we need to do is to hold back our emotions and to respond intellectually. To respond with thought. At this time what we really need is strength and hope and trust and faith and spread more light. Focus on what you can do to grow the light.
What is that light? What do you think?
I strongly believe it’s “The Quran”.
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