ISLAM happens to be the most misunderstood religion in the developed world. One of the various misconceptions that prevail about Islam is that it is intolerant towards other faiths. It is widely believed that Muslims have been instructed to offer Islam or the sword as alternatives to the non-Muslims.
These days one even comes across Muslims who tend to express the same views. The ignorance of the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, and the irresponsible, outrageous, and deplorable attitude of certain Muslim groups and regimes have equally contributed to the development of such utterly false notions about Islam.
In fact, tolerance is an essential religious and legal obligation imposed upon the Muslims. Muslims have been instructed to promote the message of Islam by way of engaging in religious dialogues with non-Muslims and in this process Muslims have been told to employ the most respectful and polite methods: "Call to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the best manner...". (Quran 16:125) And if the non-Muslims incline to disagree with the message of Islam, despite all the arguments and logic produced by the Muslims, the latter are still not to resort to any form of religious compulsion or violent reaction.
God declares: "There is no compulsion in religion...". (Quran 2:256) "But if they dispute with thee, say: I submit myself entirely to God and (so does) he who follows me. And say to those who have been given the Book and the Unlearned (people): Do you submit yourselves? If they submit, then indeed they follow the right way; and if they turn back, thy duty is only to deliver the message..." (Quran 3:19)
"And if thy lord had pleased, all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them. Wilt thou then force men till they are believers?" (Quran 10:99) "And say: The Truth is from your Lord; so let him who please believe, and let him who please disbelieve..." (Quran 18:29) These verses clearly establish:
(1) Islam denounces forced-conversion; and
(2) Islam does not enjoin Muslims to wage war for the spread of faith.
Not only Muslims are prohibited from forcing Islam on non-Muslims, they have also been ordered to deal with them in a just and kind manner: "God forbids you not respecting those who fight you not for religion, nor drive you from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly. Surely God loves the doers of justice. God forbids you only respecting those who fight you for religion, and drive you forth from your homes and help (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends of them; and whoever makes friends of them, these are the wrongdoers." (Quran 60:8,9)
Islam not only acknowledges all the previous prophets and messengers, like Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, etc., and all the previous revelations, like the Torah, the Psalms, etc., but it goes a step further: Muslims have been strictly forbidden in the Quran from using any insulting remarks about any deity worshipped by any non-Muslim: "And abuse not those whom they call upon besides God..." (Quran 6:109) Can there be a more decisive proof of the marvelously tolerant nature of Islam?
The Sunnah too is abundant in injunctions that instruct Muslims to be considerate and courteous towards non-Muslims. The charter granted by the Prophet to the Christians of Mount Sinai is one of the glorious examples of tolerance and pluralism: "This is a message from Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily, I, the servants and helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and, by God, I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them; neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs, nor their monks from their monasteries.
"No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. Muslims are to fight for them... Their churches are to be respected... No one of the nation (of Islam) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day."
When a deputation of the Christians of Najran came to see the Prophet, he not only allowed them to stay in his mosque, but they were also allowed to pray in the mosque according to their beliefs. The Prophet also granted them a charter similar to the one mentioned above: "...To the Christians of Najran and the neighboring territories, the security of God and the pledge of His Prophet are extended for their lives, their religion, and their property... There shall be no interference with their faith or their observances, nor any change in their rights and privileges... They shall continue to enjoy everything great or small as heretofore..."
The Prophet was not only the head of the first Islamic state, but was also the supreme judicial authority. Non-Muslims would also come to him for the settlement of their disputes and he would adjudicate in accordance with their laws. While deciding between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, he would strictly observe the Quranic instructions regarding equality before law, and never made any distinction between litigants on the basis of religion.
There are numerous sayings of the Prophet emphasizing that non-Muslims living in an Islamic state - legally called "dhimmi" - must be treated well and their rights must be protected by the state as well as Muslim members of the community: "Whoever hurts a dhimmi, hurts me. And whoever hurts me, he annoys God." (Bukhari) "Beware! On the Day of Judgment, I shall myself be the complainant against him who wrongs a dhimmi, or lays on him a responsibility greater than he can bear, or deprives him of anything that belongs to him." (Al-Mawardi)
The teachings of the Quran and the examples set by the Prophet were not only followed by the Pious Caliphs, but also by later caliphs, rulers, and administrators. In 638, when Jerusalem was first conquered by Muslims, Caliph Omar Bin Khattab, who is considered to be the strictest of the Pious Caliphs, made this declaration regarding its Christian inhabitants: "I grant them security of lives, their possessions, their children, their churches, their crosses, and all that belongs to them... Their churches shall not be impoverished, nor destroyed; neither endowments, nor their dignity... Neither shall the inhabitants of Jerusalem be exposed to violence in following their religion; nor shall one of them be injured."
Once, Caliph Omar came across an old man begging for alms. On inquiry, Omar came to know that the man was a Jew. He ordered that the Jew be paid regular amount from the state treasury, saying, "Is it right to take jizya from him as a young man, and neglect him as an old man? This is not possible in Islam!" Jizya is the tax collected from non-Muslim citizens. However, the amount of jizya is much less than zakat. Also, it is only collected from able-bodied non-Muslim males who can afford to pay it. Non-Muslims, if they ae in need, have the right to be supported by the state treasury.
In short - based on the Quran and the Sunnah, the practices of the Pious Caliphs, and the writings of Muslim jurists - non-Muslims, living in an Islamic state, are entitled to:
- right to life, personal safety, and respect;
- freedom of religion;
- right to justice and equality before law;
- freedom of expression;
- right to political representation;
- freedom of movement, assembly, and association;
- right to education;
- right to social security;
- right to property;
- right to government service;
- right to exemption from compulsory military service; etc.
Here it must be mentioned that it is incumbent upon an Islamic state to grant to its non-Muslim citizens all these rights and freedoms regardless of rights and freedoms accorded to or denied to Muslims living in non-Muslim states.
Islamic history shows that all the rights accorded to non-Muslims were actually implemented by Muslim governments. Non-Muslims were always allowed opportunities of growth similar to Muslims; talented non-Muslims were greatly honored and given high offices. Muslims can also take just pride in the fact that, unlike other civilizations, Islamic one cannot be accused of conducting forced conversions, witch hunts, inquisitions and holocausts. In fact, Muslim territories often served as refuge for non-Muslims facing oppression and persecution in other places.
Spain, under Muslim rule, was the only place in Europe where Jews could live with absolute safety and dignity. After the fall of Muslim Spain, Jews were expelled from there, and they found a sanctuary in another Muslim realm, i.e., the Ottoman Empire. Muslim India is another example. Despite centuries of Muslim rule, majority of its population remained non-Muslim. It is a well known fact that Muslim rulers even made generous donations to temples and other religious places of Hindus, etc. It is also interesting to note that, according to Al-Maqrizi, all the famous churches of Cairo were built during the Muslim rule.
Syed Imad-ud-Din Asad is a lecturer at Punjab Law College, Lahore, Pakistan.
You can post all the comments here and on other sites like "AskIslam" and be told that Islam is the religion of Love, Peace and tolerance. You can post all the comments about how bad "Western Civilization" is and provide examples of behavior from the past.
But it is Today that thousands of Muslims protest the freedoms practiced by others. It is Today that Islam is used as a reason to execute someone for not being Muslim. It is Today that the moderate minority? allows other Muslims extremists? to represent Islam to the world by their actions of burning people alive and cheering in the streets. Of condemning a woman to death for having sex while allowing the man to go un punished.
If it is true that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance then those that believe it had better take over Islam and hold the extremists accountable to modern day civilized behavior or the "Clash of Civilizations" will escilate out of control and we will all suffer.
Hello!!! isn't it time to apply all the steps of the scientific/research method regarding Islam before drawing conclusion about it. Has Sir Kuman read the Quran? Has sir Kumar talked to Islamic scholars or to Muslims who truly know the religion? How many Muslims friend does Sir Kumar have?
If Islam is such an intolerant religion, WHY ISLAM IS THE FASTEST GROWING RELIGION IN BOSTON/USA and IN THE WORLD?
Or is ISLAM bad b/c the enemies of Islam say it's bad?
Doesn't sir Kumar know that observation is the MOTHER of all sciences? JUST STOP BLAMING THE RELGIONS. I think It is time for sir Kumar to observe the measuring of the ONE who uplifted the heavens without any pillars and WHO created Sir Kumar from star stuffs/clay and energized him with spirit/electricity and WHO then fashioned him the right way so that he can POST COMMENTS HERE here on this site with his fingers and NOT with this toes. SEE! How kind the UNSEEN IS!!! WHAT A FACILIATOR THE UNSEEN IS! This is indeed a sign from the UNSEEN for those who observe and reflect and those who are wise.
In conlusion, sir kumar gotta a lot obseravtion left to do. He receives a grade D- from H.A. on observation. In addition, he needs to loosen up. He thinks so low of Islam and Muslims that he believes his comments would not be posted here b/c he is a non-MUSLILM. GO figure...I really wonder what's going on...
My 2nd conclusion: Sir Kumar gotta a lot up loosening up to do. He receives F- from H.A on this loosening thing...
Forgive me, brothers and sisters. But the Christian known as Abdul Rahman does not seem to love the life of this world overly much. But it is not as if he were hanging himself either.
Would not "let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein (Quran 5:47)" suggest it takes more to become an apostate than picking up a cross and carrying it?
Admittedly "he who turns to them for friendship is of them (Quran 5:51)" could seem to explain a great deal about former Afghan Muslim Abdul Rahman's decision to embrace Christianity. Even unto death, it would appear.
But even Christians and Jews - and someone called Sabians - who believe in Allah and the Last Day will be granted freedom from fear and grief. Providing they are found striving in righteousness (Quran 5:69).
If the above passages seem to contradict that which learned and responsible men decided was necessary a long time ago then perhaps it is worth noting that (according to Quran 18:1) there is no crookedness within the Qur'an.
comments from non-Muslims. This is in the true spirit of
keeping with the evolution of human spirit on this planet. As a
scientist, I believe that ALL religions are impediments to the
evolution of human spirit on this planet. True 'spirituality' is
what is needed, rather than blind obedience to any faith.
The thesis at hand is" Is Islam a tolerant faith" The facts indicate
otherwise. The outrage on the part of Muslims on the prophet
Mohammed's cartoons indicate one thing- Idolatry- why else the
entire ruckus? Like most Hindus, I do not need idols to worship.
If my fellow Hindus worship cows, trees, stones, that is fine with
me- that is tolerance. Hindus are free-spirited, a true
democratic way of life. I am blessed to be able to live in this
great country- USA, truly God's country. I believe in science, not
man-made religions, and kill others in the name of religion. I
live in Boston- and recently the Mayor of Boston gave away
Taxpayer's land worth 2 million dollars to Boston Muslims to
build a Mosque. In return, I demand Saudi Arabia to allow a
Church be built in Mecca on a land worth 2 million dollars. Is
that unreasonable request? It will not happen, because Islam is
not tolerant. Muslims in USA rabidly complain about
discrimination in this great country, and have built Mosques in
all major American cities, but they forget that the countries they
immigrated from (i.e., Islamic republics) do not even allow
Americans to bring their faiths into their countries. Great
H.A. states, "Saudi Arabia does not permit idolatry/worshipping
woods and stones or ascribing partners to God on its Land.
That's the LAW OF THE LAND. If you don't like it, then that just
TOO BAD...: I rest my case! TRUE TOLERANCE!
The article quotes Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) saying: "Whoever hurts a dhimmi (a non-Muslim), hurts me. And whoever hurts me, he annoys God."
As a non-Muslim I respect the word of the Prophet (PBUH), and I beleive that he is indeed a Messenger of God, the same and only God who is the source of all Divine Revelations to Mankind, which are the foundations of every Faith, including mine (Christianity).
Let us beware that considering ourselves as belonging to a particular Faith, does not give us any immunity from God's Justice, if we do harm to anyone of a different Faith to ours.
Humankind is threatened with a destructive madness of mutual hatred and intolerance. Even people of who claim to follow same religion are busy killing each other.
May enough of us truely come to beleive in the One God, and in the sanctity of all his Messengers, whatever our Faith and religion, so that Peace and Justice may prevail at last.
Quoting the renowned Muslim intellectual Shahnawaz Farooqui:
"Pope Urban II, while standing in a church in 1095, called Islam a satanic religion. He called the followers of Islam wicked and then called that those wicked people should be eliminated. That sermon was the start of the crusade to eliminate Muslims and continued for 200 years in which Muslim territories were attacked and people were massacred. Why was that? Because somebody evolved in his mind a philosophy of truth and then reckoned Islam as false and then thought it a threat to spirituality and the universe, so they decided to eliminate it.
Ok, this is accurate. There were a series of crusades spanning three centuires. He wins points referencing portions of Western of history that we look ashamedly upon. But my gosh, this guy completely ignores all the cultural and intellectual events over the past 700 years that shape our thinking and practices today. This guys needs to go back to school. It is frankly ridiculous to say we practice a double-standard in our defense of freedom of thought, using the crusade period as the comparison. At least we have grown beyond these practices perpetuated in a previous era. Apparently, he sees no reason for Islam to do the same.
Just stop being stupid and for GOD's sake stop following your father's ways. USE YOUR HEAD once in a while.
TO answers all the infidels questions, Saudi Arabia does not permit idolatry/worshipping woods and stones or ascribing partners to God on its Land. That's the LAW OF THE LAND. If you don't like it, then that just TOO BAD...
GOD BLESS SAUDIA ARABIA and particulary YATHRIB.
If any one has hard time swallowing my comment. Then that's just too bad. Just find a ranch and feed cows to lower your anger. AND DON'T "TOLERANT" and "INCLUSIVE" ME or "I WORSHIP WHAT I FEEL LIKE" ME. JUST GROW UP FOR GOD'S SAKE. STOP LIVING IN THE STAGE OF INFANCY.
STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT SAUDIA ARABIA DOES/DOESN'T...
You should be worried about in which nudy bar your offsprings is fornicating tonight...That would be a baby step for you and A GIANT STEP for mankind to move toward BEING the TRUE and CIVILIZED HUMANS.
This is the truth. And the truth hurts really bad sometimes...Yeah it really does...EVEN HAPPY HOUR @ BAR CAN'T RELIEVE THAT PAIN...NO matter how many times in a week to go to a bar during HAPPY HOUR.
The only other seemingly valid reason I can think of for executing converts is if an enemy were using them to undermine an Islamic state. In which case they could seemingly be executed as spies rather than converts. And frankly seemingly should.
But for those of us who are deciding whether or not to continue inviting others to Islam, having to tell them they need to die if they change their minds later on seems to be the key issue. And arguments such as reverts need not concern themselves with the laws of truly Islamic states or that this-or-that Islamic state is not truly Islamic or that so-and-so are not truly Muslims seem even more objectionable than the arguments being responded to.
And warning potential reverts to avoid finding themselves at the mercy of an Islamic state, if they think they might someday have second thoughts about calling themselves Muslims, does not seem considerably less objectionable. As a general rule perhaps death threats tend to undermine dawah.
I bid you peace.
AN AFGHAN man is being prosecuted for converting from Islam to Christianity and could face the death penalty if found guilty.
The trial, thought to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan, highlights a struggle between religious conservatives and reformists over what role Islam will take in the country four years after the fall of the Islamic fundamentalist Taleban regime.
Abdul Rahman, 41, was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian, the judge, Ansarullah Mawlavezada, said in Kabul yesterday.
During a hearing last Thursday, Mr Rahman is said to have confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.
"We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law," the judge said. "It is an attack on Islam."
It would be helpful if, in your article, you addressed events such as these.
The writer, a Pakistani native, continues to ignore the facts.
History is a great teacher, if we only have the honesty to
acknowledge the truth. Most people who have visited Saudi
Arabia knows that non-Islamic holy books are regularly
confiscated at the air ports. Even though a large Hindu
population from India works in Saudi Arabia, they will NOT be
allowed to buid a temple. I am sure same goes for the Jewish
population. The writer, a Pakistani intellectual, promotes the
notion that Islamic rulers of India were promoting Hindus!
Nothing can be farther from truth. One just have to go and see
how many temples in India were razed to the ground during the
glorified Moghul rule. If such was the case (Islamic tolerance), I
ask the writer the following: why the Hindu population of
Afghanistan almost completely disappeared under the Taliban,
why the Hindus went from 15% to 1.5% of the population of
Pakistan, why non-Muslims went from 34% to 8% of the
population of Bangladesh (from 1947 to current) -- these are all
impermissible questions to ask either an Indian Muslim, or a
Pakistani Muslim. Meanwhile, Indian Muslim population has gone
up from 5% to 17% (1947-current). Tom Friedman (NY Times)
has repeaterdly cited the reason why only in India, Muslims are
open to democracy, and live in relative peace- it is due to
majority Hindus. History is a great teacher- only by admitting
our short-comings, humans can evolve. Rhetoric, however
bombastic, is not going to convinve anyone. If Muslims truly
believe in tolerance, they should take up the role of welcoming
non-Muslims into Saudi Arabia and let them build their Temples,
Churches etc. Will hat ever happen?
Protection from this delusion comes from: a) prayer and self-reflection, b) study of texts and accepted analysis, c) discussion within a community of believers, and d) reality testing in the world by seeing if the fruits of your actions reflect your intent and are consistent with the tenets of your faith.
This article could just as easily be titled "Myth of Islamic (or Christian, or Jewish) Tolerance." Not because there is anything fundamentally flawed with any of these religions, but that the followers of the religions come from the same pool of humanity that succumb to the same pitfalls of arrogance, intolerance, self-righteousness and bigotry.
"In short - based on the Quran and the Sunnah, the practices of the Pious Caliphs, and the writings of Muslim jurists - non-Muslims, living in an Islamic state, are entitled to:
1. right to life, personal safety, and respect;
2. freedom of religion;
3. right to justice and equality before law;
4. freedom of expression;
5. right to political representation;
6. freedom of movement, assembly, and association;
7. right to education;
8. right to social security;
9. right to property;
10. right to government service;
11. right to exemption from compulsory military service; etc."
This all reads rather nicely until you think about entitlement number 3. This is the crux of the problem. WHOSE LAW!
BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY IS THE ANSWER TO COUNTERING ISLAM.
Yes, Islam is sadly misunderstood by many, both its practitioners and non-Muslims alike.
Your frustration and anger come out in your writing and I understand. You have every right to be angry with your Muslim brothers and sisters, who practice this form of Western, Christian-inspired prejudice without even realizing it. It occurs by and between other Muslims as well. The Indo-Pakastani Muslims belittling their Arab brothers, Arabs feeling superior in religion due to their mother tongue, born Muslims looking down on reverts. This is the situation that makes our global plight so horrendous at his present time, this is one of the evils we must wage jihad against in our souls. We have allowed this mentality to seep into our thinking to our detriment. However, you should not make insulting comparisons or descriptions about your brothers and sisters regardless of how angry you may be. How do you know that Allah will not guide the person who is the cause of your anger to be among the best of Muslims? Engage those who practice a culturalized form of Islam in intelligent debate. I often describe my family as 49% Muslim, 51% Arab and they bristtle at me with anger for that but fall silent when I compare their actions to the directions of Allah in the Quran or the Sunnah of our prophet (pbuh). Keep your faith in Allah strong and face each chalenge and engage each heart one by one so that you know you can face Allah with a clear conscience knowing that your did your best to advise your brothers/sisters and help them.
But they have forgotten that the Universe does not run on its own, the Creator, Allah runs this universe and He had promised to make Islam the dorminant faith no matter how the non-believers may have detest it.
They plan and He plans...
And we know who the best of planners is!
There's a lot of talking about islamic state where islamic ideals would be fulfilled. Even so much that some people fall into trap of comparing that ideal muslim state with EXISTING societies. At this point one should be very careful: dreams always beat reality 6-0. What I'm trying to say? I really would like to see a real muslim state(meaning most muslims would regognize it as such) in action, and I mean this. That would clarify many people a lot of things. To you muslims that would show how much of your ideals can be translated into reality. To us others, that would be the "parade window" to monitor, and draw conclutions. Everyone would get information about what's real, what's not. I mean, quite a lot of hopes have been loaded to it.
Back to beginning: if Afghanistan can't be taken as an example of an islamic state, can any? Which is closest of these existing states? What essential parts are missing? Have your say.
of course we muslim should never kill any innocent human
being but we should also speak against those who are killing
innocent muslims everywhere otherwise allah will quaestion us
on the day of judgement.
there is no point in using governments like Afghanistan as a prime example of a true Islamic government! Obviously what they are doing is wrong by sentencing a poor man to death...and certainly that is not what Islam says to do. So yes please be mad at the Afghani government but it has nothing to do with a true Islamic government as outlined in the Quran! Please do not confuse the two!
Afghan Christian Could Get Death Sentence
Sunday March 19, 2006 8:16 PM
By DANIEL COONEY
Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - An Afghan man is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death on a charge of converting from Islam to Christianity, a crime under this country's Islamic laws, a judge said Sunday.
Religious freedom in Saudi Arabia? Iran?
I'd say that there is a myth of islamic tolerance flogged about, but it has little basis in reality TODAY.
The only true measure of tolerance is the ability and freedom to separate church (or mosque) from the state, and allow citizens to freely choose the religion, or no religion, they wish without repercussions by the state.
excellant article this writer trying please the disbelivers by telling muslim that we should respect them good we should. this writer will be question on the day of judgement that why he do not show guideilne that hypocryte leaders of muslim nation should also respect the rights of muslim. this writer also must denounce all terrorism, tyranny, slaughter, killing n so on committed by disbelivers and people of the book. what about they are killing muslim. are you too scared to speak the truth. come on man of we should kill innocent people but what about hypocryte and non-muslim commiting all the crimes against those innocent muslim. do they have any rights.
For example - Take a look at Hinduism , where people worship man-made idols , exacly the same as the non-muslim Meccans did. The Prophet (P.B.U.H)had followed the same policies of tolerance towards them with no exeption. If not the city of Mecca would not have muslim population today.
Likewise, Buddists, people of aborigional beliefs and Jains etc. fall under the same catagory i.e they are all 'non-believers'.
Milton, are you referring to those who attack you when they know you are not supposed to retaliate? With whom you had an agreement to leave each other undisturbed, until they saw fit to attack you? Here's the deal: you lay low until after the sacred months are over. And then you rise up and let 'em have it. The next time maybe they'll think twice about betraying your trust. At least that's the general idea. Or might you have been referring to some other infidels? (Peace!)
such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Aboriginal beliefs.
Non Muslims get information about ISLAM from media, politicians, Extremists non-muslim s, some paid and hypocrite muslims.
What are we as muslims doing when compared to our prophet and Sahabah? We do not have unity.No media. Our rich leaders are puppets or corrupt. Are we setting a good muslim example?
Some religions have missionaries, resources, backing of their countries' leaders, generous donations, and so on.. Are we doing the same? NO.
We do not have to force or show off our religion. If we just follow and practice the right ISLAM and HADITH ,it is enough for the non-muslims who watch our actions and they will get the message of ISLAM.
ALLAH bless the World.