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Islam and Pluralism ( 8 Apr 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Only Teachings of Peace and Mercy Are Applicable To Muslims Today, Not Those Related To War

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam

8 April 2021

Allah Almighty is the lord of all worlds and all creatures (Rabbul Aalamin). He Almighty sent the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a mercy for all creatures and all worlds. The Lordship (rububiyyat) of Allah and the mercy of the Prophet (peace be upon him) are not limited to any particular class or any sect, or nation, but the entire world.

Indian is a democratic country where people of various religions coexist. The majority of them propagate the slogans of peaceful coexistence and pluralism while some individuals want to damage this relationship. Indian Constitution in theory does not allow any means to harm the pluralism and peaceful environment of the country. When the constitution was formed, both the Muslims and non-Muslims of India vowed to live keeping the promise of abiding by the Constitution. This means they have to live with peace towards each other. But at the same time, the same Constitution has promised to grant freedom of religion, security of citizens regardless of religion, caste and culture, and prohibited Indian citizens from making abusive remarks against any sacred dignitaries and personalities of any religion.

This means you have to live propagating peace and mercy and not instigating war and violence. This simple teaching can be reinforced by Islamic teachings of peace and mercy as well. Islam stresses that regardless of belonging to any nation, Muslims should treat other people nicely. Islam negates discrimination based on ethnicity, caste, and race and rejects any act of violence.

We are confronted with many efforts made by some people of evil intentions who want to crush humanity in the name of vengeance. They are oppressing and harassing the weak people in the name of religion and by displaying the evil face of what they call 'humanity'. Such people want to uproot humanity in the name of humanity. And this is a very serious problem facing us.

Even decisions are being made based on ethnicity, race, caste, and religion. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) did not permit any such discriminations in his judgments. He taught human values and encouraged his companions to safeguard the weak people. He forbade superiority based on culture, region, or ethnicity. Instead, he taught that only piety decides the excellence of an individual.

It is reported in a hadith that the Prophet (peace be upon him), "O People! Know that you Lord is One, your father (Hazrat Adam peace be upon him) is one. No Arab is superior to a non-Arab only because of being an Arab. No non-Arab is superior to an Arab simply because of being a non-Arab. No white complexioned person is superior to a black one and no black person is superior to a white complexioned one, except by piety."

The Quran has taught mankind to respect the entire humanity. It says, "We have honoured the Children of Adam" (17:70). This is a moral aspect that has inspired the entire world. In the Islamic civilization and practices of Sufis and Mashaikh, we surely discover the highest intellectual and practical traces of human respect.

The teaching of human respect mentioned in this verse is demonstrated by the fact that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) appointed a governor in an area, he would instruct him to be kind and gentle and not to terrorize anyone. There is an incident narrated in Sahih Muslim that when the Prophet sent Hazrat Muaz bin Jabal as the governor of Yemen, he said,

"Make things easy and do not make things difficult. Give glad tidings and do not repel people. Cooperate and do not become divided". (Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari)

And when Hazrat Ma'ad ibn Jabal was ready to go and put his foot in the stirrup, the Prophet further said, "Make your character excellent for the people, O Muaz ibn Jabal" (Muwatta, Sahih Muslim)

Please observe this hadith in which the Prophet warned Hazrat Muaz ibn Jabal not to use his position of authority to wrong or oppress anyone, even if the people are disbelievers, as Hazrat Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said, "Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, even if he is a disbeliever, for there is no screen between it and Allah" (Musnad Ahmad, Grade – Sahih)

Hazrat Umar would ask people about the attitude of governors. Once he asked Jarir about Hazrat Saad b. Abi Waqqas, he replied saying, "I left him (Saad b. Abi Waqqas) in governorship while he was the gentlest man. He was as kind and friendly to the citizens as a mother is to her children. He would manage the livelihood of the citizens as the ants do" (Al-Isaba fi Marifat al-Sahaba, vol. 3, p.3)

Islam holds equal status for humanity.  Once the Prophet peace be upon him said, "All creatures of Allah form the family of Allah and he is the best-loved of Allah who loves His family best" (Mishkat Sharif)

The Prophet is also reported to have said, "…I affirm that all Human beings are brothers to one another" (Abu Dawood) and "…respect the ways of Allah (or the laws inherent in Nature) and be affectionate to the family of Allah" (Baihaqi).

We should note here that the addresses in all these Ahadith are not just the believers or Muslims but all human beings and they form one family. (One should not be confused with the word 'family' used metaphorically to indicate 'the people of Allah').

We are in dire need of propagating the attitude of human respect that takes one to the path of spiritual and mental development. Once a man loses the respect of humanity, he starts wandering around the forest of evils where it nearly becomes impossible for him to come out of this circle unless he purifies his heart and mind.

In the holy sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him), we find several traces of a true believer and his spiritual development. One of the traces is that the believer always succeeds in good deeds and will keep doing so as long as he does not shed forbidden blood because if he kills anyone unjustly and creates disorder (Fasad) in the land, he will get frustrated and fail in his path of success. (Abu Dawud)

The Quran and Sunnah have strongly prohibited bloodshed. And wherever and whenever any war was allowed in the era of the Prophet peace be upon him, it was solely for the safety of humanity. The Qur'an declares it in clear words that "whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had killed mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors" (5:32)

Some people do not want to hear teachings of peace, harmony, and justice because of their ill intentions. Such people often try to discourage and prevent the just people from the path of peace and justice. But the Quran encourages these just people to keep struggling for promoting peace and justice, as it says, "O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do". (5:8)

In the time of Hazrat Umar Farooq (May Allah be pleased with him), one of his Emirs sent a complaint regarding the desertion of his city and demanded some money from Amir al-Muminin Hazrat Umar to resettle this deserted place. Hazrat 'Umar Farooq wrote in reply, "After reading my letter, protect your city by establishing justice, fairness and removing oppression from the paths of the city because oppression results in the desertion of the city".

The people of different faiths and religions live on this planet. They differ from one another in their creeds and beliefs and very often the powerful subjugate the weak for upholding their creeds. They fail to understand that God is One and all the creatures have to face the Day of Judgment based on their acts. So at least they should live peacefully and do justice towards one another's life. This message has been clearly stated in the following Quranic verse,

"........Say (this): 'I believe in every Book that Allah has revealed, and I have been commanded to do justice between you. Allah is our Lord as well as your Lord. For us are our deeds and for you are your deeds. There is no debate and dispute between us and you. Allah will gather us all together and to Him is the return (of all)." (42:15)

The principles that Islam has formulated for establishing peaceful mutual coexistence can surely help the world get rid of all sorts of oppression, violence, riots, and clashes.

Islam does not like polytheism (shirk) but at the same time, the Quran has taught its followers ways to deal with the Mushrikin or idol-worshippers.

The Quran says,

"And, (O Muslims,) do not abuse those whom these (polytheists) worship besides Allah, lest these people should (also, in retaliation,) revile Allah's Glory wrongfully due to ignorance. Thus, have We made the conduct of every sect (and faction) seem attractive to (their own eyes and they regard only that as truth)? Then all have to return to their Lord, and He will inform them of (the results of) their deeds which they used to do." (6:108)

This verse stops Muslims from speaking ill of other gods, lest their believers should abuse their God in a fit of rage. This is a place to think that most of the riots that have broken among the followers of different faiths have occurred because they played the game of mud-slinging against each other's God and their eminent personalities. Surely this has been the cause of many communal riots and conflicts. May Allah guide the people! e

It is a bitter truth that when the Muslims start propagating peace and harmony, some individuals do not like this situation and start making objections to the word 'Mushrikin mentioned in some verses of the Quran and try to brainwash the youth against the Quran. The fact is that the word 'Mushrikin' mentioned in these verses refers to those Mushrikin who had broken the peace treaty of Hudaybiyya and wanted to eliminate the existence of Muslims and Islam. But those who are good thinkers and scholars know this fact. 

The people of ill-intention must focus on propagating the verses which are applicable in the world of peace because they are living under the Constitution of Peace i.e. the Constitution of Peace which gives the teaching of peace. But if they want to focus on the Quranic perspective, they must do it on the following verses that are applicable in India for promoting the ideas of peace, harmony, justice, forgiveness, and peaceful mutual coexistence among followers of different faiths.

God Almighty says:

"On account of this, We prescribed (this commandment in the Torah sent down) to the Children of Israel that whoever killed a person (unjustly), except as a punishment for murder or for (spreading) disorder in the land, it would be as if he killed all the people (of society); and whoever (saved him from unjust murder and) made him survive, it would be as if he saved the lives of all the people (of society, i.e., he rescued the collective system of human life). And indeed, Our Messengers came to them with evident signs. Yet, even after that, the majority from amongst these people are certainly those who commit excesses in the land." (5:32)

"And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly - We have given his heir authority (of retribution as per the legal procedure), but he should not exceed the just limits in [the matter of retributive] killing. Indeed, he is to be helped." (17:23)

 "And these are the people who do not worship any other god apart from Allah, nor do they kill the soul whose killing without any lawful cause Allah has forbidden, nor do they commit adultery. And whoever does this will receive the punishment due for the sin." (25:68)

"And among men is one whose conversation may please you in the life of this world, and who calls Allah to witness to that which is in his heart, whereas [in truth] he is the most quarrelsome! (2:204) And when he turns away [from you], he goes about the earth to create turmoil in it [i.e. the earth] and destroy crops and lives; and Allah does not like turmoil and violence". (2:204-205)

 "And seek the abode of the Hereafter with what (wealth) Allah has given you, and do not forget your portion of the world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to cause turmoil in the earth; indeed, Allah does not like those who violate the peace." (28:77)

 "And those who break the promise of Allah after making it firm and sever all (the relations and obligations) that Allah has commanded to be kept unified, and do mischief and strife in the land—upon them is the curse and for them is an evil home;" (13:25). This verse is a guiding principle for not going against the promise of abiding by the Constitution.

 "Indeed, Allah decrees the commands of justice and kindness, and of giving to relatives, and forbids immorality and bad conduct and rebellion; He advises you so that you may receive admonition." (16:90)

 "The way (to persecute) is only against those who oppress people, and wrongfully spread rebellion in the land. It is they for whom there is a painful punishment. (42:42) And indeed whoever patiently endures and forgives – this is sure of the acts that demand great courage and determination". (42:42- 43)

 "The retribution of a harmful deed is the harm equal to it; so, whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah; indeed, He does not love the unjust" (42:40)

 "Tell the believers to forgive those who do not fear the days fixed by Allah, so that He may give a nation the reward of what they used to earn." (45:14)

 "And if you want to punish, then punish only (as severely) as you were afflicted, but if you remain patient, then certainly that is better for those who keep patience. And, (O Glorious Beloved,) be patient and your patience is by Allah alone. And you should not grieve over their (defiance), nor distress (your gracious and benevolent heart) on account of their deceptive plots. Surely, Allah blesses them who live with God wariness and who (also) live with spiritual excellence with His (special) companionship." (16:126-128)

 "There is no compulsion in Din (Religion). Surely, the guidance has been distinguished from error. So he who rejects false gods and believes in Allah has grasped such a firm handhold that will never (possibly) give way. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing." (2:256)

"And had Allah so willed, certainly, all inhabitants on the earth would have believed. (When your Lord has not made them believe by force,) will you coerce the people until they become believers?" (10:99)

"We know best what they say, and you are not the one to coerce them. So advise through the Qur'an anyone who fears My threat of punishment." (50:45). This verse rejects the narrative of forced conversion as one is not allowed to force any other to accept one's religion. 


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