Islam and Tolerance
Md. Asadullah Khan
Devout Muslims are always shocked to hear that the name of their faith, which means submission to Allah, can summon up such images of violence. Despite all the past visions of Saracens battling Crusaders, today's confrontations, as we see, is not a devotional conflict but a clash between perceptions of reality....
Bangladesh, historically a country of sedate Muslims who, more or less, believed, till recently, in peaceful coexistence of many faiths and many beliefs, has started losing the collective tolerance bit by bit....
Every religion preaches forgiveness, but there comes a time when forgiveness is no longer the answer. There is no room for forgiveness, as far as justice is concerned. The finger that pulls the trigger and the hand that throws the acid or grips the knife must be cut....
the past decade, headlines from the Middle East have reintroduced Westerners to
terms from centuries past. “Heresy,” “blasphemy,” “apostasy” — these are some
of the charges that the radical Salafist group known as the Islamic State
invokes when it executes its enemies, sometimes by crucifying or burning them
alive. Some Muslim governments, including United States allies, also mete out
harsh punishments for similar offenses. The liberal blogger Raif Badawi was publicly
flogged in Saudi Arabia last month on a charge of heresy, which he allegedly
committed by criticizing the oppressive Saudi religious establishment.
Indonesia’s religion problem is part of a broader regional trend. In nearby Brunei, the government has banned at least eight “deviant” religions and fines schools for teaching any non-Islamic religious subjects. Similarly, Malaysia has banned 56 “deviant” interpretations of Islam, including Ahmaddiyah, Islamailiah, Shi'a, and Bahai. In Myanmar, the government has dealt harshly with Rohingya Muslims and Buddhist religious leaders……
In Islam, tolerance is to respect the religious difference though not approving it. Concretely, for instance it is like this that although Islam prohibits drinking for Muslims, it allows its non-Muslims community to consume it if their religion does not forbid doing so. Islam’s attitude towards non-Muslim is, “for you is your faith, and for me my faith” (109:6). Islam is completely against forced conversion. The Holy Quran states, “There is no compulsion in faith. The correct way has become distinct from erroneous”… (2:256). Islam even proscribes reviling the deities of other religions…..
Syed Farid Alatas
The Ottoman Empire (1299-1023) went beyond tolerance and accepted non-Muslim minorities, granting them protection and religious freedoms. By the 16th century, the Ottomans established control over large parts of Europe, ruling over large Christian populations. Sultan Mehmed developed a system in which each religious community, or millet, elected its own leader and enforced its own religious laws. Orthodox Christians constituted a millet; the Jews another. A proper approach to the interpretation of Quranic texts, involving a correct contextual understanding of its meanings, and the study of Islamic history, will reveal that tolerance and acceptance of non-Muslim minorities were the norm…..
Like all the Abrahamic religions, Islam
is founded on tolerance. So why are droves of Islamic militants able to
practise such brutality, asks Ahmed Naguib Roushdy ... The division
of Muslims into sects, Sunnis and Shias, and the division of the Sunnis into
four sub-sects, adds to the misunderstanding of the real Sharia. In Egypt, the
Sunni Hanafi sub-sect is the official one. But sects are not relevant to
Sharia. In fact, I consider the Egyptian law requiring that all court judgments
follow the Hanafi sub-sect an imposition on Muslims to follow one sub-sect,
when the Quran says, “la ikraha fi eddeen” (there is no compulsion in
Islam was not
particularly intolerant, and it initially elevated the status of women. Anybody
looking at the history even of the 20th century would not single out Islam as
the bloodthirsty religion; it was Christian/Nazi/Communist Europe and
Buddhist/Taoist/Hindu/atheist Asia that set records for mass slaughter......
religious fanaticism that characterised the Spanish Inquisition was
conspicuously absent in Muslim countries where Jews carried out their religious
pursuits unhindered. Intellectually Islamic culture borrowed large-heartedly
from Greek culture. Indeed, the Hellenistic tradition, on which Western culture
is based, did not come directly from the Greeks but through the Muslims who
preserved it, added to it and passed it on to Europe when it emerged from the
By any sensible standard of reasoning, to research something does not imply 'glorification'. If I study various versions of the Ramayana, this does not imply that I'm glorifying this or that version. If I study the bombardment of Hiroshima, this does not mean I approve of atomic warfare……
Being a co-religionist can only be one basis for a common identity; it cannot be the only basis for forming a nation: culture, language, ancestry, geographic location and many other commonalities can be the basis of our identity as a nation. To privilege one group over other groups is a recipe for disaster in a multicultural, multilingual and multi-religious society. Does this question the status of the two-nation theory? Clearly it does….
The difficult question for societies based on tolerance is whether it is self-defeating to tolerate subcultures that exhibit extreme intolerance. The way some extreme versions of Islamic tradition are practiced in our country is anathema to our accepted values. We cannot hide from the dilemma this poses. We must ask for a greater public contribution to discussions about these issues from Muslim communities…..
Islam means complete submission to Allah by choice and conviction, not through force and compulsion. Islam accommodates and welcomes all people as brothers and sisters regardless of their distinctive association or background. The attitude of Islam towards the faithful of other religions is not only to show tolerance towards their beliefs, but also to affirm a non-negotiable Islamic principle of tolerance and religious responsibility....
Religious tolerance necessarily means that people should be not be coerced into following a particular religion. This is entirely in consonance with Islam. The Quran (2:256) insists ‘There shall be no compulsion in religion’. The occasion for the revelation of this verse further clarifies the Quranic understanding of religious tolerance. This verse was revealed in connection with a certain Muslim from among the ‘Helpers’ (Ansars) of Madinah named Abul Husain, who had two sons. It is said that they had become Christians when they were young and had been taken to Syria. ….
The Prophet accepted the gift sent by Maquqas, the ruler of Egypt, and also the slave girl, who had the honour of giving birth to the Prophet’s son Ibrahim, who lived only a few months. And one advice given by the Prophet is also this, “You should remain well-wishers of the Copts since you have relatives among them.”...
Mehr F. Husain
The people’s inability to define what they want, the weakness to stand up for what they believe in, and most importantly the inability to reach out to those who needed compassion thus helping them to come out of their comfort zones instead of clutching onto half- baked excuses that justified their inactivity have provided leeway for such heinous acts as the one by the bomber….
“Across the world, people are being singled out and hounded out simply for the faith they hold....[Middle Eastern Christians] are rooted in their societies, adopting and even shaping local customs. Yet...[a] mass exodus is taking place, on a Biblical scale. In some places, there is real danger that Christianity will become extinct.” These words, delivered by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi during a speech in the US, delivered at Georgetown University, have become a topic of debate on various forums — a majority of US commentators have attributed the phenomenon to the rise of ‘Islamist extremism’....
Tolerance is a basic principle of Islam. It is a religious moral duty. It does not mean "concession, condescension or indulgence." It does not mean lack of principles, or lack of seriousness about one's principles....
Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
That the two torchbearers of secularism in the history of Pakistan created a separate country in the name of religion and excommunicated a religious sect respectively speaks volumes for the legacy of secularism that we have inherited. That the two torchbearers of democracy refused to work under the mandate of Congress and the Awami League respectively and needed separate states to manifest their ideals, reveals our democratic ancestry. And so it should come as no surprise that both religious coexistence and democracy are alien concepts for us.....
The Ahmadiyah minority still faces discrimination even by the Religious Affairs Ministry, which should cultivate tolerance amid diversity. Then there are the Shiites in Sampang, Madura, East Java, who are being required to convert to the “proper” Islam if they want to return home. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s President was honored earlier this year for his efforts to instill a culture of tolerance…….
Having obeyed Islamic practices, playing an active role in Dawah (proselytising) and becoming a supporter of the Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HT) in London, she eventually became disillusioned with the brand of unrepentant Salafi Islam that continues to dominate the group.....
The nefarious act was conducted by the ‘Pakistani Taliban’. The ‘Afghan Taliban’, on the other side of the border, are struggling to establish an Islamic state in Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban are a different species altogether. They are the miscreants inducted from within Pakistan by the intelligence agencies. ...
Islam teaches tolerance on all levels individual, groups and states. It should be a political and legal requirement. Tolerance is the mechanism that upholds human rights, pluralism (including cultural pluralism), and the rule of law.….
Tolerance is not the same thing as limitless freedom: constructive liberty requires some measure of social control and some manner of legislated social values — especially when it comes to the relationship between the state and its citizens……