Islam and Pluralism
Endy M. Bayuni
These two organizations, with their massive influence among Muslims in Indonesia, have been responsible in developing the more tolerant and moderate version of Islam in the country, and in the past have been counted on to fight against the rise of radical Islam. And now Widodo is turning to them once again. Has the President done enough to stop the creeping Islamism in Indonesia? Time will tell.....
Such are even
the ‘Believers’ in the creed laa ilaa haa illaa Allaah- There is
no earthly gods, that is, monarchs, kings, Khalifahs, Imams, Muftis,
custodians of holy places, or graven images but only the Supreme Being, the
Creator of universe as the father-figure. To Him mankind is but one nation… one
large family; but alas of their own freewill they differed and divided
themselves into tribal communities to fight wars across the borders and
Had your Lord
pleased, all the people on earth would have believed in Him, without exception.
So will you compel people to become believers? (10:99) […]and had God so
willed, He would have made you all a single community, but He did not so will,
in order that He might try you by what He has given you (5:48)The Quran, as is
readily evident from this discussion, reflects a universal notion of religious
tolerance. If this is not reflected in Muslims’ behaviour, the fault lies with
Muslims themselves, and not with the Quran....
The goal of you
all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which
ye dispute.” The Quran exhorts the fact that God has given freedom to individuals
in choosing their faith. Verse 149 of al-An’am says: “Say: “With Allah is the
argument that reaches home: if it had been His will, He could indeed have
guided you all.”....
For Muslims to become a force for peace and goodness in the world, they
simply have to rethink several deep-rooted traditional views regarding
relations between Muslims of different schools of thought and between Muslims
and people of other faiths, engage in practical efforts to promote intra-Muslim
and inter-faith dialogue, understanding and harmony, and recover and highlight,
including through practical efforts, the message of peace that is basic to the
Quran and that exemplified the life of the Prophet Muhammad. ....
The mayor told
fishermen they had been deceived into not voting for him by his opponents who
cited verse 51 from the fifth Sura, or chapter, of the Koran, al-Maida. Some
Muslims interpret al-Maida as a prohibition on Muslims living under the
leadership of a non-Muslim. Others say the scripture should be understood in
its context – a time of war – and not interpreted literally.....
Religious Pluralism is God’s Will
Rabbi Allen S. Maller, New Age Islam
This means that
religious pluralism is the will of God. Yet for centuries many believers in one
God have chided and depreciated each other’s religions and some believers have
even resorted to forced conversions, expulsions and inquisitions. Monotheists
all pray to the same God and all prophets of monotheistic faiths are inspired
by the same God.....
Mariam Sheikh Hakim
Muslims don’t reflect on (or know about) is the concept of an Islamic Christmas
tree. What I mean by this is the tree featured in the Quranic account of Jesus’
birth in chapter Mary (Surah 19). In this narrative, Jesus is born under a
tree, which is an integral part of the Islamic “nativity scene” and story. This
is an Islamic Christmas tree of sorts; a tree that can be used to remind us of
the story of Jesus’ birth....
certain Quranic verses in a very wrong way, several so-called Ulema wrongly
argue that Muslims must not have friendly love in their hearts for people of
other faiths. This is a really very wrong claim and has no sanction in the
Quran, if the Quran is understood properly....
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
One of his
companions said, ‘O Prophet, it was a funeral procession of a Jew!’ meaning
that he should not demonstrate such respect for a non-Muslim. The Prophet
replied: ‘Alaisat Nafsan’: ‘Was he not a human being?’ This
‘humanitarian’ outlook was typical of the Prophet’s vision of life. He was able
to see everyone basically as a human being.....
Sheima Salam Sumer
“Nowhere in the
Quran is changing people’s religion given as a cause for waging war. The Qur’an
gives a clear instruction that there is no compulsion in religion (Quran
2:256). It states that people will remain different (Quran 11:118), they will
always have different religions and ways and this is an unalterable fact (Quran
5:48) – God tells the Prophet that most people will not believe ‘even if you
are eager that they should’ (Quran 12:103).”....
Sufis have been
important examples for such travellers. The cosmopolitan character of the
scriptural languages that they learned was responsible for the development of
an illuminating exchange between them and the native speakers. Ibn Batuta, the
Moroccan traveler who roamed from Tangier to the extreme southern parts of the
known world, has conceptualized the cosmopolitan utility of the Arabic
language, as he could even serve as a judge in the royal court of Muhammad bin
Tughlaq in India during the 14th century CE. The ability he possessed in many
languages (he is often credited with learning fifteen languages) helped him to
engage in dialogue with different cultures. It is said that he even learned
Sanskrit during his stay in India.....
Plurality of prophets and multiplicity of revelations reflect a divine
will. The Prophets of all revealed religions are brothers and there is no
difference between them with regard to the message. Muslims are obliged to
believe in them all....
In the year 622CE, the Prophet produced the Medina Charter, also known
as the Constitution of Medina, which contained the rights and responsibilities
of the Muslims, Jews and other tribal communities in Medina. As the head of
state, Muhammad guaranteed all citizens of the city the rights of freedom of
religion and freedom of conscience. Moreover, Muhammad’s constitution did not
treat Jews as a monolithic entity; he recognised and respected their ethnic and
The tolerance and coexistence that reigned for so long in the Arab and
Muslim world does not belong to the past, it remains an essential element of
our future and of our identity as Arabs and Muslims. History offers not only a
record of events, but also a warning of past mistakes and a repository of noble
examples and concepts to be emulated. As Arabs and Muslims, we must strive for
who we want to be and we must remind the world of the noble values of our
ancestors in matters of tolerance and coexistence....
Religious minorities, Balanche said, are the "first victims" of this conflict. 40% of Syria's Christians, he reported, already have already left the country, while Alawites are withdrawing to Alawite-majority areas in the west of the country and the Druze do likewise in the south. Overall, Balanche concluded, "I'm very pessimistic about the future of religious diversity in this area."
Root causes of violent extremism include injustices, poverty in urban areas; religious and political hate-speeches; distorted information about religion; degradation of resources such as land and water; marginalization; hopelessness; crises of identity and belonging, especially among young people. Radicalisation and violent extremism are misuses of religion and cannot be justified by misquoting and misinterpreting sacred scriptures.
The visit of
the Christians of Narjan to the city of Medina in 631CE is perhaps the most
important noted interfaith interaction between Christians and Prophet Muhammad.
At this time Muhammad had sent letters to different communities and their
leaders, encouraging them to embrace Islam. In the case of the Narjans, who
lived near Yemen, about 450 miles south of Medina, the Prophet sent Khaled ibn
al-Walid and Ali ibn Abi Talib to deliver the letter....
There was a time in India’s medieval and early modern history when some of the finest masterpieces in Hindi were written by Muslims and some of the most fascinating Persian compositions were produced by Hindus. ....
The story of the birth of Jesus, which is the entire reason for Christmas, is located in two major passages in the Quran, one of which states: Lo! The angels said: "O Mary! Behold, God sends thee the glad tiding, through a word from Him, [of a son] who shall become known as the Christ Jesus, son of Mary, of great honor in this world and in the life to come, and [shall be] of those who are drawn near unto God. And he shall speak unto men in his cradle, and as a grown man, and shall be of the righteous." (3:45-46).
Kashif N. Chaudhry
"Christians are my citizens, and by God, I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses.
Some Muslim leaders have expressed "grave concerns" over the Study Qur'an, a recent translation and commentary of the Qur'an because of its promotion of salvific pluralism and universalism. Such Muslim leaders promote exclusivism and supremacism and also bully fellow Muslims, who uphold inclusive values, through social ostracism. Preaching of such strong views has led to the immense persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and the marginalization of LGBT Muslims. Indeed, taking this exclusivism to its logical conclusion, groups like ISIS and the Taliban execute fellow Muslims with the approval of their own conscience….
In Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, this Ramayana ballet, performed in the Javanese style—a finessed form, associated with slow and deliberate movements—has been running continuously since 1961. In 2012, it was anointed by the Guinness Book as the most continuously staged performance in the world. In Indonesia, the Ramayana ballet has been running continuously since 1961.
In Africa, many parts of which contain Muslim and Christian populations, Muslims often join in Christmas festivities; in Senegal, which is nearly 95% Muslim, as well as in Muslim-majority Gambia, Muslims and Christians celebrate each other's holidays. The mosque in Dakar sports Christmas lights during the season. In Sri Lanka, the major Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian holidays are public holidays.
Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. The Qur'an venerates both Jesus and Virgin Mary by sharing their story of Jesus' miraculous birth, his special gift of speaking from the cradle, and his ability to perform miracles with the help of God. Muslims believe that his mother Mary is one of the greatest women to ever live, and a chapter of the Qur'an is devoted to her. ...