Thaqofah: Peaceful co-existence التعايش السلمى
Leave them with their religion (i.e Way of life)
فتح القدير (vol. 9 page 362)
The world media propaganda plays an effective role in the bastardization of Islamic values. The world where Muslims co-exist with people of other faith is rife with skepticism and mutual mistrust. The following paragraphs will not only try to print the true reality of Islamic tolerance but will also educate Muslims on how to peacefully co-exist and handle challenges with their fellow humans of other faiths.
- The peaceful nature of Islam
- Levels of tolerance
- Religious tolerance
- Tolerance as a livewire of peaceful co-existence
Levels of tolerance with people of other faith
- The freedom to believe but with restrictions on practice and abstention: This is the least form of tolerance;anything below this will be considered intolerance.For example, a Jew or Christian may be allowed to remain with his chosen religion but may not be permitted to leave work on Saturday or Sunday as part of his religious requirement.
- The freedom to believe,but practice and abstain within the boundaries of our laws: This is the second level of tolerance. For example, a Jew or Christian who lives in a country governed by people of other faith will be allowed to claim his identity as Jews or Christian and act according to his religion with what generally agrees with the laws of the land. So, he will be allowed to leave work on Saturday or Sunday only if it is in accordance with the law of the state.
- The freedom to believe, practice and abstain according to their religion including what is against the dictates of our religion: This is the highest level of tolerance. For example, the majuusor magians considered incest to be perfectly legitimate as part of their religion.
From the above it is crystal clear that Islam has the meaning to tolerance. The following examples will now further establish the true reality of tolerance in the Islamic history.
Some pictures of tolerance in the glorious Islamic history
- At the early years of Islam in Makkah, some slave masters embraced Islam and felt reluctant to continue spending on their slaves who chose to remain in disbelief. They complained to the prophet and Allah revealed some verses of the Qur’an:
لَيْسَ عَلَيْكَ هُدَاهُمْ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَمَا تُنْفِقُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَلأنْفُسِكُمْ وَمَا تُنْفِقُونَ إِلا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ اللَّهِ وَمَا تُنْفِقُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لا تُظْلَمُونَ
Not upon you, [O Muhammad], is [responsibility for] their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills. And whatever good you [believers] spend is for yourselves, and you do not spend except seeking the countenance of Allah. And whatever you spend of good – it will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.
هَلْ أَتَى عَلَى الإنْسَانِ حِينٌ مِنَ الدَّهْرِ لَمْ يَكُنْ شَيْئًا مَذْكُورًا (١)إِنَّا خَلَقْنَا الإنْسَانَ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ أَمْشَاجٍ نَبْتَلِيهِ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا (٢)إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا (٣)إِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ سَلاسِلا وَأَغْلالا وَسَعِيرًا (٤)إِنَّ الأبْرَارَ يَشْرَبُونَ مِنْ كَأْسٍ كَانَ مِزَاجُهَا كَافُورًا (٥)عَيْنًا يَشْرَبُ بِهَا عِبَادُ اللَّهِ يُفَجِّرُونَهَا تَفْجِيرًا (٦)يُوفُونَ بِالنَّذْرِ وَيَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا كَانَ شَرُّهُ مُسْتَطِيرًا (٧)وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا (٨)إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لا نُرِيدُ مِنْكُمْ جَزَاءً وَلا شُكُورًا (٩)إِنَّا نَخَافُ مِنْ رَبِّنَا يَوْمًا عَبُوسًا قَمْطَرِيرًا (١٠)
And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive
[Saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah . We wish not from you reward or gratitude.
- Allah orders no compulsion in the religion nor does He permit transgression
وَلا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ (٤٦)
And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.”
- Abu Yusuf of the Abu-Hanifah madhhab reported: The prophet sent some relief fund to Makkah to relieve some calamities that had befallen them at the time when they were enemies to him and his cause (ref: shar’isiyar-ul-kabir vol. 4 pg. 144)
- Asmau bint Abubakr was a sister to Aisha, the mother of the believer; one day she approached the prophet and enquired that her mother (who was still a disbeliever) visited her to request some kindness, should I honour her request in spite of her disbelief? The prophet orders her to be good and kind to her mother.(ref: Ibn kathir vol. 4 pg.349)
وَإِنْ جَاهَدَاكَ عَلى أَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلا تُطِعْهُمَا وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا وَاتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
but if they (both parents) strive with You to make You join In Worship with Me others that of which You have no knowledge, Then obey them not, but behave with them In the world kindly, and follow the Path of Him who turns to Me In repentance and In Obedience. Then to Me will be Your return, and I shall tell You what You used to do.
The Prophet in Madinah
- An Islamic early historian, Ibn Ishaq recorded: Some Christians leaders from Najraan came to visit the prophet in Madinah, the prophet entertained them in the mosque and after they were done with the meeting their prayer time reached and they were offered to pray in one side of the prophet mosque. (This should be a rare occurrence and shouldn’t be taken as a norm)
- Imam Buhari narrated from Anas: The prophet once visited a Jewish boy on his sick bed in Madinah, when the boy was about to die the prophet admonished him to accept Islam, the boy turned and looked at his father but his father said: you may follow Muhammad if you wish; so the boy embraced Islam and died shortly afterwards. When the prophet left their home, he said: glory is to Allah who savedthe soul of this boy through my effort.
- When the prophet was about to die he took his battle amour to use as collateral with a Jew in exchange for some foods to feed his family. The prophet was a leader with followers that loved him more than their own family; it will be surprising that he could not borrow or collect foods from his followers and turn to a Jew to fulfill this need. The scholars of Islam explained that this act was a deliberate one from the prophet to practically teach his followers not to be hostile with people of other faith but rather be clement and merciful.
- There were many authentic records that the prophet will receive gifts from the Jews of Madinah.
- One day the prophet was with his companions in Madinah when the corpse of a Jew was being carried for interment, the prophet stood with sympathy and condolence, some companions said to him: this was just a corpse of a Jew (disbeliever). The prophet replied: doesn’t he have a soul?
- When the prophet was instructed to leave Makkah with Abubakr for Madinah, he entrusted a pagan guide to direct their ways to Madinah.
- The commander of the believers, Umar ibn Khattab once bought a horse from a Jew, but after a little ride the horse showed some serious signs of sickness (indicating that he was deceived in the transaction). Umar returned the horse back to the Jew and demand the return of his money. But the Jew refused and insisted that the horse must be return back in it initial healthy condition before any claim for refund. Umar dragged him to the court but the Judge (installed by Umar) judged in favor of the Jew. Umar was astounded at the uprightness of this Judge (to keep justice in a case involving his master) and promoted him to be the chief Judge in Kuffah.
- During one of the battles, the armour of Alli ibn Abi Taalib fell and a Jew took it. When the Jew was about to sell it in the market, Alli who has being searching for it apprehend the Jew and took him before a Judge. Alli claimed ownership of the armour but the Jew claimed it for himself too. Since the armour was with the Jew, Alli was asked to provide the required two witnesses to support his claim, he named his son Hussein and his servant Kunbur but the Judge refused to accept a son as witness for his father. Alli could not provide another witness and the judgment was made in favour of the Jew. The Jew was astounded with this judgment and embraced Islam.
Basis of tolerance in Islam
- The believe that all humans were honourable (ref: Q17:70)
- The believe that the difference of faith is according to the Will of Allah (ref: Q11:118)
- It is not our duty to judge the disbeliever until they die in disbelief (ref: Q22:68;Q42: 15)
- We believe that Allah commands justice, compassion, clemency and gentleness with all creatures.