Islam and Tolerance
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……
Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favour by shaking us up by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year. As Muslims and citizens we honour the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticise, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' free expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our societies. ...
It is hard to imagine how such a horrendous record on religious freedom squares with the kingdom's stated policy of promoting interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance around the world. If the Saudi government intends to have any credibility in fostering religious dialogue and harmony, it must first put an immediate end to invoking religion to punish those who peacefully advocate principles and ideas that the government does not share……
Arguing for tolerance and moderation at a time when Egyptians and Syrians are slaughtering each other may seem like folly, but it’s grounded in a practical reality. To rediscover the golden age symbolized by “Al-Andalus,” the Arab Muslim world must recapture the inclusive spirit that sustained Cordoba and Granada. Otherwise, the broken political culture will not mend....
My alma mater, The University of Chicago, was recently in the news for an overtly politically correct act for replacing its historic Bond Chapel's pews for Muslims to worship. This act is raising hackles reminiscent of the university's other, recent, tone-deaf decision to demolish the childhood home of former President Ronald Reagan, on its campus, and replace it with a parking lot and a commemorative plaque....
At first, I thought they (Islamic sectarian hate-mongers) were bats of darkness on Twitter. I thought they were masked people who enjoy insulting, criticizing and accusing others of infidelity on Twitter because they know no one can pursue them or hold them accountable. But I later realized that the situation is far more dangerous and expanded than that. A university scholar who teaches in a prominent university in our country (Saudi Arabia) wrote “we must remind our children that the infidel. Shiite and Alawites are the ones who [committed crimes] against our people in Qusayr. I will spit in the face of whoever preaches to me about tolerance.” A Saudi reminded him of humanitarian, cultural, national and religious references that unite people and described the former’s stance as reactionary and primitive. The university teacher responded saying: “Welcome to reactionism and primitiveness that will purge our country of your impurity.”...
Dr. Ahmed Ramadan Jalloh
Tolerance in Islam is a translation of the widely used Arabic word called: “At- Tasamuh” meaning to allow, or to forgive or to recognize the right of the next person to live. That’s the literal or linguistic meaning, but conventionally, tolerance is used to describe the peaceful existence of the three most popular religions in the world (Islam Christianity and Judaism) and for each religion to recognise the right of the other to live and practice its faith without being harmed or hurt by the other….