Toleration in Islam

By Muhammad Hussain khan

” Islam is an open-air religion,” Bernard Shah

Islam is the only religion which gives complete guidance pertaining social, political, and religious spheres of life. In other words, it is a complete code of life. It is Islam which gives complete individual liberty to all, whether Muslim or non- Muslim. Therefore, non-Muslims also enjoy complete freedom in Muslim societies. Non- Muslims enjoy freedom to worship in their holy places without fear. An Islamic society is an egalitarian society where concepts of caste, colour and creed carry no weight.  Nowadays, one can see racial discrimination in countries which claim to be champions of liberty such as U.S.A. The liberal outlook and toleration in Islam is testified by Sir Alan Burne in these words, “It has been stated in the matter of discrimination, Islam has a better record than Christianity that it has destroyed race, prejudice and national resentment; abolished caste, ignored colour and has broken down all barriers among men.” More importantly, it has broken down barriers among men and women of different races. This was evident in inter-racial marriages of Muslim men and women.” The Holy Quran gives the biggest lesson of tolerance. It says, “And if any one of the idolaters seeks thy protection (O Muhammad ) then protect him so that he may hear the words of Allah, and afterwards, convey him to his place of safety.” 

In this verse of the Holy Quran teaches highest form of tolerance in the form of protection to those people who do not believe in ideology of Islam. It is Islam which has tolerance and liberal approach towards animals and does not allow anyone to kill birds for sport. “If someone kills birds for sport, the bird will cry out on the day of judgment, O Lord! That person killed me in vain! He did not kill me for any useful purpose.” Hadith (Sunan Nisai)         

That is why Muslim ruled over half-world, for a long time. For instance, Muslims, ruled over India and Spain more than seven hundred years. The Muslim rulers did not just follow the principles of tolerance enunciated by Islam; they also put out intolerance with an iron hand in Caliph reign. This is the true spirit of toleration and liberation of Islam.

However, by the freak of nature, some orthodox clergymen have tarnished the true face of Islam. They present an artificial self-constructed image of Islam. On top of this, they have made religion a profession which has resulted in breeding inter-faith hatred and animosity worldwide. Such irresponsible acts fan sectarianism and communalism in societies.  Therefore, every sane mind is under obligation to present a positive image of Islam to world.

The writer is a graduate of Punjab University Lahore. He can be contacted at mhussain.brc@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in the article are that of author’s own. Opinion of author does not reflect Bolan Tribune policy.

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