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Islam and Pluralism (19 Jun 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Islamic Concept of Tolerance—an Essential Prerequisite for Peaceful Coexistence


 By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

19 June 2018

Tolerance in Islam, rightly understood, is patience toward a practice or opinion one disapproves of. This understanding may come as a surprise to many people who interpret tolerance simply as a synonym for the words ‘acceptance’ or ‘agreement’. Islamic tolerance entails disagreement yet a firm moral commitment to the decent treatment of the person with whom one disagrees. So tolerance in Islam can be understood as a patient forbearance against something which is disliked or disapproved of. 

Tolerance in Islam is viewed as a prerequisite essential to maintaining peaceful coexistence. Islamic concept of tolerance can be exercised against a broader spectrum of differences; social, cultural, racial, political, ethnic, religious, and domestic. Islam abhors intolerance causing murder, genocide, violence, religious persecution, injustice and creating disorder in any parts of the globe. 

Tolerance in Diversity

Islam recognizes diversity, enumerating it among the signs of Allah for the people of knowledge, as the Quran reads, “And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the differences in your languages and colours; indeed in this are signs for people of knowledge” (30:22). This verse asserts that creation of the sky and earth as well as diversity in colours and languages is among the Divine signs. The human beings are divided into many races, having different physical forms and colours—white, black, yellow etc. and this can be easily understood by “the people of knowledge”.

Allah Almighty also says,

“O mankind! We have indeed created you from one man and one woman, and have made you into various nations and tribes so that you may know one another; indeed the more honourable among you, in the sight of Allah, is one who is more pious among you; indeed Allah is All Knowing, All Aware. (Piety is the basis of honour in Allah’s sight.) (49:13)

“And had your Lord willed, He would have made mankind one nation – and they will always keep differing.” (11:118)

“And O dear Prophet (Mohammed – peace and blessings be upon him) We have sent down the true Book upon you, confirming the Books preceding it, and a protector and witness over them – therefore judge between them according to what is sent down by Allah, and O listener, do not follow their desires, abandoning the truth which has come to you; We have appointed for you all, a separate (religious) law and a way; and had Allah willed He could have made you one nation, but the purpose (His will) is to test you by what He has given you, therefore seek to surpass one another in good deeds; towards Allah only you will all return, so He will inform you concerning the matter in which you disputed.” (5:48)

The afore-mentioned verses recognize diversity and differences in gender; colour, skin, language and belief, implying that differences will always be there and hence these differences must not only be expected but be tolerated. So through the recognition of diversity in beliefs and cultures, Islam seeks to establish tolerance—tolerance that establishes peaceful coexistence with various religious communities. 

From acknowledging diversity to encouraging pluralism, Islam outlines a firm standard for Muslims to develop peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims. For Islam, establishing peace is the ultimate goal, and if there is to be peace, there must be tolerance and tolerance is seen only in terms of diversity and differences.

The following Quranic verses also recognizes diversity and thus lays a strong foundation for Islamic tolerance.

Allah Almighty says,

“Indeed We have honoured the Descendants of Adam and transported them over land and sea, and gave them good things as sustenance, and made them better than most of Our creation.” (17:70)

“For this reason; We decreed for the Descendants of Israel that whoever kills a human being except in lieu of killing or causing turmoil in the earth, so it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoever saves the life of one person, is as if he had saved the life of all mankind; and undoubtedly Our Noble Messengers came to them with clear proofs – then after this indeed many of them are oppressors in the earth.” (5:32)

“And it is He who produced you from one soul and [gave you] a place of dwelling and of storage. We have detailed the signs for a people who understand.” (6:98)

“Say, “We believe in Allah and what is sent down to us and what was sent down to Ibrahim, and Ismael, and Ishaq, and Yaqub, and to their offspring, and what was bestowed upon Moosa (Moses) and Eisa (Jesus), and what was bestowed upon other Prophets – from their Lord; we do not make any distinction, in belief, between any of them; and to Allah we have submitted ourselves.” (2:136)

“He has kept for you the same path of religion which He commanded Nooh, and what We divinely reveal to you (O dear Prophet Mohammed – peace and blessings be upon him), and what We had commanded to Ibrahim and Moosa (Moses) and Eisa (Jesus) that, “Keep the religion proper, and do not create divisions in it”; the polytheists find the matter what you call them to as intolerable; Allah chooses for His proximity whomever He wills, and guides towards Himself whoever inclines (towards Him).” (42:13)

Tolerance Linked with Religious Freedom

Tolerance is linked with freedom of religion. In this context the oft-quoted verse is of Surah Baqarah (2:256) in which Allah Almighty says, “There is no compulsion at all in Din (Religion). Surely, the guidance has become evidently distinguished from error. So he who rejects false gods and believes in Allah has grasped such a firm handhold that will never loosen. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing” (2:256). This verse establishes a basic Islamic principle upon which the idea of non-compulsion is built, guaranteeing religious freedom for all non-Muslims including Hindus, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Sikhs etc.

According to the overwhelming majority of classical Muslim scholars (Ulama-e-Jamhoor), this verse (2:256) is non-abrogated and was revealed in the Madani period, when the Muslims had attained political ascendance and were in a position of strength and not weakness. Sir Thomas Walker Arnold (1913) and many modern scholars including the orientalists also support the same view (See “Preaching of Islam: A History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith, p. 6.). There is a divine message in this verse that Muslims cannot force another’s heart to believe. The famous theologians belonging to different schools of thought, who consider this verse (2:256) to be non-abrogated are Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti (Al-Itqan Fi Ulum al-Quran vol. 2), Al-Nahhas (al-Nasikh wal Mansukh fi al-Quran al-Karim), Al-Jassas (Ahkam al-Quran), Ibn Ashur (al-Tahrir wat Tanwir), Al-Tabari (Jamiul Bayan An Tawil Al-Quran), Abi Ubayd (Kitab Al-Nasikh Wal Mansukh), Makki bin Abi Talib (Al-Idah Li Nasikh Al-Quran Wa Mansukh), Ibn Taymiyya (Qaida Mukhtasarah Fi Qitalil Kuffar), Ibn Qayyim (Ahkam Al-Dhimma) and many others.  

Notably a famous classical jurist belonging to Hambali school of thought, Ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi writes, (translation from Arabic) “It is not permitted to force any non-Muslim to accept Islam. Such a person would not even be considered a Muslim until it is confirmed that he accepted the Islamic faith by his own free choice.” He also says, “The reason for the prohibition of any compulsion or coercion is the Qur’anic verse, “There is no compulsion in Religion” (see al-Mughni).

It is reported that although the Ansar were the reason behind revealing this verse 2:256, the application of its message is general in meaning (Tafsir Ibn Kathir). Given the famous maxim "العبرة بعموم اللفظ لا بخصوص السبب", meaning, “Consideration is granted to the Generality of the Language, not to the Specificity of the Reason for Revelation”, it is proclaimed that this verse (2:256) is general in meaning and applies to all non-Muslims. Hence it means that none of the non-Muslims should be coerced to accept Islam. The rationale behind this generality is explained this way that since the revelation has distinguished the path of guidance from the path of misguidance, it is now up to the will of people to choose one or the other path and therefore accepting Islam because of compulsion would not benefit the convert in any way.

More significantly it is also reported that when Hadhrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) invited an old Christian woman to accept Islam, she said in reply: “I am an old woman nearing death.” Hearing this, Hadhrat Umar did not force her to come into the fold of Islam. In fact, he recited this very verse 2:256 “There is no compulsion in Din (Religion)” (Al-Nahhas “al-Nasikh wal Mansukh”)

Undoubtedly the idea of compulsion to make one accept Islam is not possible at all. This is because Islamic faith is not related to outward physical response, but rather it relates to the heart. (See also Tafsir al-Qurtubi)

Tolerance towards Non-Muslims in Islamic Governance

Islam command Muslims to protect the life ofpeaceful non-Muslims and has made it impermissible to kill any one of them unless he is sentenced for murder or a capital crime. This is mainly because Allah Almighty says:

“And do not kill the soul whose (killing) Allah has forbidden, except when it is rightfully due (according to law in self-defence against disruption and whilst combating terrorism). It is these (injunctions) He has enjoined upon you so that you may apply reason”. (6:151)

Allah Almighty also says,

“Whoever kills a human being except in lieu of killing or causing turmoil in the earth, so it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoever saves the life of one person, is as if he had saved the life of all mankind; and undoubtedly Our Noble Messengers came to them with clear proofs – then after this indeed many of them are oppressors in the earth”. (5:32)

This verse asserts that killing a person unjustly is tantamount to killing all mankind and saving a person is like saving all mankind. The message of this verse is applicable to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

أَلاَ مَنْ ظَلَمَ مُعَاهِدًا أَوِ انْتَقَصَهُ أَوْ كَلَّفَهُ فَوْقَ طَاقَتِهِ أَوْ أَخَذَ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا بِغَيْرِ طِيبِ نَفْسٍ فَأَنَا حَجِيجُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ‏"

Translation: “Beware, if anyone persecutes any peaceful non-Muslim citizen [Mu’ahid], or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment.”

The beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) is also reported to have said,

“Whoever kills a peaceful non-Muslim living in minority [Mu'ahid] shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise, though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of travelling). (Sahih Bukhari, Book 87, Hadith 52)

Similar Hadith has been narrated by Nasa’i, (Sunan Nasai, Book 45, Chapter “Seriousness of killing the Mua’hid”, Hadith 42), Abu Dawud (Sunan Abi Dawud, Book 15, Hadith 284) Tirmidhi (Jami’ al-Tirmidhi, Book 16, Hadith 19),Ibn Majah (Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 21, Hadith 2789-Arabic reference).

Tolerance in Domestic Sphere

Islam also encourages tolerance among family members, intimate partners, relatives and neighbours. If tolerance is practiced, the routine acts of violence will not take place in our domestic settings.

The Quran asks the believer to “do good to parents” (4:36), “behave benevolently with his parents” (29:8) “be benevolent towards his parents” (46:15), and asks him not to “say even ‘Ugh’ to them”. The beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “He is not from us who does not have mercy on our children and does not honour our old” (Tirmidhi and Al-Hakim) and “to be good and dutiful to one’s parents is one of the deeds loved most by Allah Almighty” (Bukhari). These Quranic verses and Ahadith imply that the act of kindness, goodness and benevolence should be performed even when there is difference between parents and children in thought and action.      

For promoting tolerance between husband and wife, the Quran asks the believers to “live with them in kindness; even if you dislike them” and says to them, “perhaps you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good” (4:19) According to a Hadith, those who behave well with their wife and daughters are the best (Al-Baihaqi). To be best for wife and daughter, it is binding upon a husband or father to keep away from intolerance.

Tolerance in Neighbourhood

Tolerance is necessary to maintain a good and strong relationship and neighbourhood. The beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "By God he is not a believer, he is not a believer, he is not a believer,” It was said, "Who is that, O Allah's Apostle?” the one who could not provide peace and security to his neighbours.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Number 45). These and the following Ahadith teach the believers to develop good relationship, as;

“Maintaining good ties with kinship, good manners, and being kind to neighbours brings blessings to the house hold and increases its life span” (Ibn Majah).

“Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer? It is keeping peace and good relations between people, as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind." (Bukhari & Muslim)

“Whoever is kind, Allah will be kind to him; therefore be kind to man on the earth and He Who is in heaven will show mercy on you."(Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi)

“He who desires that his life be prolonged and he be granted more provisions and to be protected from the evil end, then let him fear Allah and maintain good ties with kinship". (Al-Hakim)

Also that “Maintaining good ties with kinship brings love between relatives and increases wealth and prolongs life” (Al-Tirmidhi).

Another Hadith reads, “O people spread greetings, feed people, keep kinship ties and pray at night while people are sleeping and you will enter paradise safely” (al-Hakim)

The above mentioned Ahadith apply to all neighbours, Muslims and non-Muslims, and outline a firm foundation for tolerance.

Examples of Tolerance in the Life of the Prophet (peace be upon him)

Tolerance can be seen in the life of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who is referred to in the Quran as a model example for humanity. His many policies reflect the Quranic view of tolerance of others.

An example of this may be ‘Constitution of Madina’ (Mithaq-e-Madina), which described Muslim, Jewish and pagan groups as ‘one community’ sharing in the obligation of protecting one another from outside aggression, while each group enjoys their religious freedom.

Once, while the Prophet was on the way to Ta’if where the Hijaz aristocracy used to while away their summer days, he was so badly stoned by his enemies that the blood streamed from all over his body. When he attempted to call them to Islam, instead of listening to his words of wisdom, they set the street urchins upon him, who kept chasing him till nightfall. Even after all this, he did not curse them. When he was at all exhausted and bleeding from head to toe, all he said was, “O my Lord, guide my people along the true path, as they are ignorant of the truth”.

According to a Hadith, whenever any issue of legal retaliation was brought to the Prophet, he would always recommend his Ummah for being patient and pardoning the criminal.

Anas bin Malik reported:

 “I never saw a case involving legal retaliation being referred to the Messenger of God, (peace be upon him) except that he would command pardoning the criminal. (Sunan Abu Dawood 4497, Source: Sahih)

The Prophet is reported to have said, “Whoever suffers an injury done to him and forgives (the person responsible), Allah will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi)

The Prophet said,

 “Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong if they do evil.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi)

Uqbahibn Amir reported: I met the Messenger of Allah and I started speaking, taking his hand and saying, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me about virtuous deeds.” The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “O Uqbah, reconcile whoever cuts you off, give to whoever deprives you, and turn away from whoever wrongs you.”

In another Hadith it is reported that the Prophet said, “You shall keep relationship with one who cut it off from you, you shall give one who disappointed you, and you shall pardon on who oppressed you, Whoever wants an increase in his sustenance, increase in life [and riddance from a horrible death], should fear Allah and be helpful and kind towards his relatives”.

Allah Almighty says:

“And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.” (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:107).

This reflects that the Prophet’s distinctive quality was that he was the embodiment of a blessing in word and deed, not only for a particular Muslim community but for the entire world. His impassioned engagement and dedication was just with the distribution of love, peace and tranquillity among all mankind.

According to a tradition recorded in Sahih Muslim, when the Prophet’s opponents greatly increased their persecution, his Companions asked him to curse them. At this, the Prophet replied, “I have not been sent to lay a curse upon men but to be a blessing to them.” His opponents continued to treat him and his Companions unjustly and cruelly, but he always prayed for them.

In the discussion above we can see that Islamic concept of tolerance teaches us that even those with different religious beliefs, colours, languages, races, ethnics, nations deserve tolerance. Islam prevents its followers from adopting intolerance that leads to murder, genocide, violence, religious persecution, injustice and creating disorder in any parts of the globe.

Most of cases causing death, genocide, violence and terrorism are absolute results of intolerance. The flame of Intolerance has burnt a major part of humanity and whatever humanity is left is indebted to the people who, at all costs, want to embrace or develop tolerance. I have focused, though briefly, on presenting Islamic concept of tolerance and that does not mean that I see intolerance only in Muslim community. Obviously intolerance can be seen in any community living in this world but I want my Muslim community first to adopt tolerance in all spheres of their life and then call other communities towards tolerance. For this purpose, I request all the Muslim intellectuals to design a special syllabus for teaching values and significance of tolerance and teach it in their Madrasas, schools, colleges, universities and religious or secular institutions. Non-Muslim organizations can also necessarily design such a syllabus or something else to help tolerance be rooted in overall circles of our society and country.

A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is a Classical Islamic scholar with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Writer and Translator.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-pluralism/ghulam-ghaus-siddiqi,-new-age-islam/islamic-concept-of-tolerance—an-essential-prerequisite-for-peaceful-coexistence/d/115581

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  • If we want peace, we must tolerate many unpleasant things from others.

    By Kaniz Fatma - 4/24/2019 12:27:21 AM

  • I didn't ask "what is theology? You asked and I merely quoted your question before providing the answer.By Naseer Ahmed - 7/19/2018 12:43:39 AM

    You also asked what is acceptance and I provided the answer in my comment cited above. You have still not said whether you can go beyond tolerance and accept people of other faiths as equals entitled to the same rights, privileges and protections as a Muslim in this world.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 7/24/2018 8:38:42 AM

  • There is no requirement for a believer to testify/witness the existence, Oneness or any other attribute of Allah or testify/witness to Muhammad being Allah's Messenger. Allah testifies and we are asked to believe based on Allah’s testimony. So a Momin does believe in Allah, His Oneness and various other attributes and to Muhammad being His last Messenger. The requirement if any, is to believe and not testify. Allah does not place on us a burden greater than we can bear, and most of us are simply lacking in knowledge to witness/testify. Only a person with complete knowledge and belief that his knowledge is without defect, can testify. If a person testifies only on the basis of belief without certain knowledge, his testimony amounts to a lie. Even the Prophets and the Messengers lacked certain knowledge and asked Allah for proofs. The Quran does not even force us to say “I believe”, let alone say “I testify”, and yet accepts us as “Muslims”, if we accept and follow the religion of Allah, for which the basic requirement is performing the regular prayers and spending zakat. Our theology, by making us testify/witness, makes us a community of those whose testimony is unreliable, as we glibly testify 25 times every day, without knowledge.

     The Kalima of belief in the Quran, is also generic, and asks us to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers and in the Hereafter. There is a clear and specific warning against making any distinction between the Messengers and in particular, taking any name besides that of Allah. It is therefore, improper to take any name besides that of Allah and the more appropriate Kalima is “Amantu Billahi, wa Mala’ikatihi, wa Kutubihi, wa Rusulihi, wal Yawmil Akhiri”.

    Please read:

    What Survives Of The Authentic Sunna (Practice) Of The Prophet (PBUH)?

    Our theology declares a person a Muslim on his reciting the Kalima Shahada, and moreover says that all the past sins of such a person are washed away, and the person becomes as sinless as a newborn. This is contrary to what the Quran says. Forgiveness is for those who repent and make amends and for acts done in ignorance. 

    A person is not a Muslim, unless he/she practices the religion of Allah, and if anything, only a promise of what essentially he/she is required to practice, and avoid doing need be taken, as we learn from the Quran and covered in my cited article.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 7/24/2018 6:42:45 AM

  • Naseer sb,  You say,
    “What is theology? It is religious theory and beliefs developed by the theologians. It is theology that says: A person must recite the Kalima shahida to become a Muslim. This is contrary to what the Quran says.”
    Kalima Shahadat is not contrary to the Quran. There are two parts in this Kalima Shahadat. First is declaration of faith in oneness of God. Second is Risalat of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Both the parts are categorically proven by the Quranic verses.
    What is Kalima Shahadat? Kalima Shahadat is: اشهد أن لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله
    English translation: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” (peace be upon him)
    Kalima shahadat is declaration of faith or bearing witness of faith in heart and words. Kalima Shahadat refers to oneness of God and Risalat of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and both are categorically proven by the Quranic verses. I have collected some verses of the Quran on this subject, hoping that they will solve your question.
    First part of Kalima i.e. Oneness of God is categorically supported by the several Quranic verses as follows;
    “Therefore know (O dear Prophet Mohammed – peace and blessings be upon him) that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and seek the forgiveness of sins of your close ones and for the common believing men and women; and Allah knows your movements during the day and your resting during the night.” (47:19)
    “Indeed, when it was said to them, “There is none worthy of worship except Allah”, they were haughty.” (37:35)
    I have seen “La Ilaha Illa Huwa” meaning “there is none worthy of worship except He (Allah)” in the Quran 29 times.(2:163) (2:255) (3:2) (3:6) (3:18) (4:87) (6:102) (6:106) (7:158) (9:31) (9:129) (11:14)(13:30) (20:8) (20:98) (23:116) (27:26) (28:70) (28:88) (35:3)  (39:6)  (40:3) (40:62) (40:65) (44:8) (59:22) (59:23) (64:13) (73:9)
    Allah says, La Ilaha Illa Ana meaning “there is none worthy of worship except Me” (3 times) (16:2) (20:14) (21:25)
    La Ilaha Illallahu “There is none worthy of worship except Allah” (2 times) (37:35) (47:19)
    La Ilaha Illa Anta “There is none worthy of worship except You (Allah)”(1 time) (21:87)    
    Besides there are others verses which refer to oneness of God Almighty.
    Second part of Kalima, that is, “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” is also categorically supported by a number of Quranic verses as follows;
    “Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) is the Noble Messenger of Allah...” (48:29)
    “Say (O beloved Prophet), “O people! Indeed I am, towards you all, the Noble Messenger of Allah – for Whom (Allah) only is the kingship of the heavens and the earth; there is none worthy of worship, except Him” (7:158)
    “And Mohammed is purely a Noble Messenger” (3:144)
    “O mankind! This Noble Messenger (Prophet Mohammed – peace and blessings be upon him) has come to you with the truth from your Lord, so accept faith for your own good...” (4:170)
    I can present more verses on divinity of both the parts of Kalima Shahadat but I think the above mentioned verses are enough for the men of intelligence and honesty.  Kalima shahadat is mujmal declaration of faith and it does not mean that only reciting this Kalima shahadat while rejecting zaruriyat-e-deen will make a person Muslim. A true Muslim declares Kalima shahadat only when he believes in all parts of zaruriyaat-e-deen.
    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی - 7/24/2018 5:16:34 AM

  • A common Muslim is not a thinking Muslim. He follows whatever the theology of his sect teaches and I have already shown that theology errs on many points. Yes, you are right - I am not aware of any other person who says what I say on any of the subjects of my articles. That is because I cover in my articles only what theology has distorted.

     Kufr is to do with acts and deeds and not with beliefs. A believer, when he acts against the commands of Allah, commits kufr. If you analyze closely, kufr is possible only after having believed and not by a person who is ignorant.

     Why is Satan a kafir? Only for disobeying Allah and for vowing to keep rebelling against Allah till doomsday. He is not a kafir for his beliefs. He is a kafir because he knows the reality of what Allah is, and yet disobeyed and continues to rebel. Satan is not in doubt about anything and he knows with certainty what a Momin only believes to be true. He is therefore more certain about every religious truth than the most perfect Momin, and yet he is the foremost among the Kafir.

     Our own self (nafs) will be the witness on the Day of Judgment for our wrongdoings or for our acts of "kufr". What this means is that kufr is doing what our inner self knows to be wrong. If we do something without knowing it to be "kufr" (to the best of our knowledge and belief), then it is not kufr. Therefore "shirk" is not “kufr” for a Mushrik until his inner self has realized that "shirk" is "kufr" and will be a witness against his “shirk”.

     The opposite of Kafir is not Momin but Muslim. 

     Kufr is to reject, rebel

    Aslama is to accept, obey which is the verb form of Muslim.

     It is a Momin who needs to be guided and forgiven and not a Muslim because a Muslim is one who obeys/submits to the commands of Allah which needs to be rewarded and not forgiven. The Prophet is therefore asked to pray for the believers but never for the Muslim. There is no Quranic dua for the Muslim or a verse about forgiveness for the Muslim. Forgiveness is for the believers because they need to be forgiven for their various acts of “kufr”. A Momin therefore does acts of both obedience (Muslim) and disobedience (kafir) and needs guidance to avoid doing acts of the kafir and forgiveness for such acts and is rewarded for his acts of a Muslim.

    Also read the article:       Revisiting the Meaning of Kafir

    By Naseer Ahmed - 7/24/2018 3:24:17 AM

  • Naseer sb,

    You say, “A believer is equally capable of being a kafir”

    Naseer sb, 

    Where do you say it from? This will make the matter more confusing and complex. You will never be able to prove this point except by your newly created meaning which was never supported by any of the Muslims from beginning until the present.

     Even a common Muslim will reject your ‘theology’ of creating a new meaning in the Quran.

     Your statement “A believer is equally capable of being a kafir” is categorically incorrect, as the relation between both the words believer and kafir is tabayun and Tabayun can’t be Tasawi.  

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی - 7/24/2018 12:28:27 AM

  • Ghaus Sb says: “The way you are speaking in your comment shows you are not a Muslim.”

    From what I say, he can only learn about what I believe and not what I practice. The clear definition of “Muslim” in the  Quran is one who establishes regular prayers and pays zakat. How does he then say that I am not a Muslim without ascertaining whether I practice the basic requirement to be considered a Muslim? Clearly, he does not know the meaning of Muslim. And yet, he talks about teaching me! The audacity of the Ignorant! Ghaus Sb typifies the shoddy nature of “Islamic” scholarship.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 7/20/2018 6:14:23 AM

  • Ghaus Sb says: Those who say, fitna means “shirk” and opine that the early Muslims fought to end fitna” must have meant “to end that shirk which was leading to persecution of Muslims”. I have reached this conclusion in my study of both the statements which apparently look contradictory to each other while they are in agreement with each other.

     We are being led to believe from the above, that there is a form of “shirk” or polytheism that leads to persecution of the Muslims and we learn from the commentary in Kanzul Iman on verses 8:36-40, that the Muslims are commanded to fight such Mushrikin/kafaru until they Kufr Se Baaz Aye Aur Islam Laye (give up polytheism and become believers).  We are also being led to believe, that these verses only apply to the Mushrikin (polytheists) who persecute the Muslims.

     The correct position is that none of the verses on fighting are about “shirk” or the “Mushrikin” but about the kafaru who practice religious persecution. The word “shirk” or “Mushrik” does not appear in these verses and therefore, in their general application, these verses apply to every religious persecutor even if it is a believer who is persecuting the non-believer. A believer is equally capable of being a kafir, the prime example being Satan.  Every verse addressed to the believers, is trying to make the believer a Muslim and warning him of the behaviours that make a person kafir. A believer (momin) is not synonymous with Muslim, and a person with perfect beliefs but acting against his beliefs, can become a perfect kafir like Satan. A person not yet be a believer, can be a Muslim, but to become a perfect Muslim, requires perfecting one’s beliefs since a person mostly acts according to his beliefs. Islam is about making a person a Muslim or one who practices the religion of Allah and belief is not the end, but only the means. Therefore, even a Buddhist following the moral code of Buddhism, is a Muslim while remaining agnostic.

     Let us consider the adjuration at the beginning of Surah 95:

    (1) By the Fig and the Olive,

    (2) And the Mount of Sinai,

    (3) And this City of security,-

    (4) We have indeed created man in the best of moulds,

    (5) Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low,-

    (6) Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward unfailing.

    (7) Then what can, after this, contradict thee, as to the judgment (to come)?

    (8) Is not Allah the wisest of judges?

    The City of Security is easily recognizable as Mecca since it is a sanctuary from the days of Abraham and is associated with Islam; the Mount of Sinai is associated with Moses or Judaism. What about the Fig and the Olive? Are these fruits that Allah is recommending? If that were so, it would be a horrible mixing up of unrelated metaphors! The Olive and the Fig must therefore necessarily refer to two other religions. The Mount of Olive is associated with Jesus or Christianity, and the Fig is referring to the Fig tree under which Buddha meditated and received enlightenment or with Buddhism. Why is God swearing by these four religions if these are not a few of the different paths to Him?

    5:48 “…..To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;”

    What is common to all the four religions? All the four religions have a clear deontological or rule based moral code. What is uncommon? Buddhism is relatively agnostic about belief in God yet, the Quran swears by it, underlining the importance of moral behaviour and good practices above belief.

    So, do we merely tolerate people of other faiths or accept them as equals in our worldly life? If we think that there is a form of shirk that leads to the persecution of Muslims, then the best we can do is to tolerate them.

    To understand the Quran in the manner described above, is beyond the pale of narrow minded bigots who twist the meaning of every word and see “shirk” and “mushrik” even in verses that are free from these words. 

    By Naseer Ahmed - 7/20/2018 4:28:59 AM

  • Please read my article on subject of "there is no compulsion in Religion" 

    *Rights of Non-Muslims Living In Minority – Part 1 – Freedom of Religion*


    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی - 7/19/2018 7:50:33 AM

  • Naseer sb,

    Please read my comment again and again. You did not get my comment. I did not say both the concepts are valid. I simply quoted their arguments. You could have asked my point but you did not. Instead you became ‘judgmental’.  

    The way you are speaking in your comment shows you are not a Muslim but with the Muslim name you are playing taqiya. Anyway, it is your personal way. But this is taqiya. Is it not? If you are a Muslim, you can explain it without hiding your real faith.

    I am not playing any taqiya. This is known only to Allah Almighty. I am not responsible for those who play taqiya, even not for you if you are doing this taqiya.

    Why do not you sit with me to learn theology, especially the subjects of kufr, kafir, shirk, fitna and mushrik? I know here you will never chance to take out right understanding from my comment as you are vowed to kick the unnecessary debate.

    Things are very clear. Only those Mushrikeen who were persecuting Muslims were fought.

    Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Az-Zuhri informed him from Urwah bin Az-Zubayr and other scholars that (until there is no more fitnah) the Fitnah mentioned here means, until no Muslim is persecuted so that he abandons his religion. (Ibn Abi Hatim volume 5, page 1701)

    Those who say, fitna means “shirk” and opine that the early Muslims fought to end fitna” must have meant “to end that shirk which was leading to persecution of Muslims”. I have reached this conclusion in my study of both the statements which apparently look contradictory to each other while they are in agreement with each other.

    If this is not the case, then why did the scholars make exception to zimmis, muhahideen (peaceful non-Muslims, Kuffar or Muhsrikeen)? What were the causes which did not allow them to end shirk of zimmis and muhahideen? All this happened even after fathe makka?

    When I think so, I find that they fought against religious persecution. When religious persecution ended, they stopped fighting.

    Naseer sahib, you should take these points in your mind and think without having your word ‘bigotry’ against the scholars of the past.

    If you can’t understand this explaination of mine, then I think you need to sit with me to get all points clear and if not, then you can take easy and clear words as quoted above and in my previous comment,

    Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Az-Zuhri informed him from Urwah bin Az-Zubayr and other scholars that (until there is no more fitnah) the Fitnah mentioned here means, until no Muslim is persecuted so that he abandons his religion. (Ibn Abi Hatim volume 5, page 1701)

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی - 7/19/2018 5:47:51 AM

  • Referring to your comment: 7/18/2018 5:04:08 AM, to you both views are valid and fitna could mean “shirk or polytheism” also. The Quran clearly commands the Muslims to fight until all fitna comes to an end. Now if fitna means shirk, then it means that the Muslims must keep fighting until polytheism ends. This kind of double talk is very common to the Muslims which is why they are accused of practicing Taqiya. Why can they not take a categorical stand on such an important matter?

     If the Muslims do not categorically reject that fitna in the Quranic verses mean “shirk” and say that it only means “religious persecution”, the peaceful assertions of such  Muslims must be dismissed as expedient lies and as hypocrisy. Can you take a categorical stand on this question?

    By Naseer Ahmed - 7/19/2018 1:10:26 AM

  • What do I mean by acceptance? Read the Quran carefully. There isn’t any verse that calls for tolerance of the peaceful rejecter of Islam. There are verses that call for patience/tolerance in the face of persecution but no verse that asks the Muslims to show tolerance to the peaceful rejecter of Islam. As far as the peaceful rejecter of Islam is concerned, the Quran has the following to say:

     1.       To you be your religion and to me mine

    2.       Let there be no compulsion in religion.

    3.       If they incline for peace the Muslims must incline for peace forgetting all past animosities and must not discriminate against them in any manner. If they bear any hatred for past animosities such hatred must not come in the way of rendering justice.

    The Muslims must accept that diversity of faith is divinely ordained:

    5:48 “…..To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. 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 Muslims must accept that the Prophet was fighting his battles to end religious persecution and to end any kind of persecution, is a religious duty of the Muslims. They must accept that not only can they not persecute non-Muslims but fighting against such persecution is their religious duty.

    In brief, they must accept that the non-Muslims have the same rights as the Muslims. One sided laws such as the Blasphemy laws that punish only for blasphemy of Islam must be struck down. All signs of religious persecution in various forms must end. A non-Muslim must feel safe and secure. Abductors of non-Muslim girls in countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, who forcibly convert these girls, must be punished in an exemplary manner. Blasphemy laws, when used against the minorities, is a sure sign of persecution. Such persecution must end.

     Therefore, we must tolerate the intolerant non-Muslims but accept the peaceful ones as equal to us in their right to life, religion and justice and to the pursuit of happiness.

    Does our theology say the same thing as the Quran as explained above? It does not, and therefore it is our religious theology that needs to be debunked.

     What is theology? It is religious theory and beliefs developed by the theologians. It is theology that says:

     1.       A person must recite the Kalima shahida to become a Muslim. This is contrary to what the Quran says. What Survives Of The Authentic Sunna (Practice) Of The Prophet (PBUH)?

    2.       It is theology that tells us that all past sins are wiped out when a non-Muslim recites the kalima to become a Muslim which is contrary to the Quran. Repentance of past sins and making amends for the wrongs and injustices is required for forgiveness (16:119)

    3.       It is theology that has given us the five pillars and six articles of faith.

    4.       It is theology that teaches us that non-Muslim means kafir

    5.       It is our theology that has corrupted the meaning of Shaheed to mean martyr

    6.       It is theology that has spawned false beliefs in an immortal soul and in punishment in the grave

    7.       It is theology that has made Triple Talaq in one sitting valid. It is theology that teaches us that the women are inferior to men in piety and intelligence because they menstruate and two are required as witnesses vs one man. Is A Woman’s Testimony Worth Half That of A Man?

    8.       It is theology that misinforms us that the battles of the Prophet were to end disbelief rather than end religious persection.

     Everything that I say is referenced to the Quran only and not to any other source. Yes, there are multiple interpretations. When I speak of theology, I speak of the dominant religious theory common to every sect of Islam.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 7/19/2018 12:43:39 AM

  • five questions.
    By hats off! - 7/18/2018 6:53:07 AM

  • Mushrik and muwahhid, Muslims and non-Muslims all equally need to adopt the path of tolerance. One sided tolerance is not helpful. This point should also be taken into account.  

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی - 7/18/2018 5:15:49 AM

  • Naseer sb,

    Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Az-Zuhri informed him from Urwah bin Az-Zubayr and other scholars that (until there is no more fitnah) the Fitnah mentioned here means, until no Muslim is persecuted so that he abandons his religion. (Ibn Abi Hatim volume 5, page 1701)

    According to this statement, fitna means persecution, and that is, religious persecution but there are other Islamic scholars who say fitna in the verse “until there is no more fitnah...” means shirk.

    You can see there are two different interpretations in Islamic theology. If you go into details, you will find they have not adopted it randomly but rather all of them presented their respective thought with their proofs and arguments.

    But you did not have even this much of idea and rejected the entire theology without seeing that there is one that says fitna means persecution and of course a number of clerics follow the same concept.
    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی - 7/18/2018 5:04:08 AM

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