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Nawal Nadeem Alam: Religious tolerance in Islam

Nawal Nadeem Alam: Religious tolerance in Islam

Media credit: The State Journal-Register

In one of his sayings, Prophet Muhammad PBUH is reported to have said, “The similitude of mine and that of the Prophets (before me) is that of a person who constructed a building and he built it fine and well and the people went round it saying: Never have we seen a building more striking than this, but for one brick, and I am that brick.”

Islam lays great emphasis on the Unity of the Oneness of God. However, it also recognizes the freedom of choice of religion. After presenting its arguments for truth and universality, Islam leaves the choice up to the people to embrace or shun it. No coercion or imposition is allowed either by the Quran or the practice of the Prophet. Islamic religious pluralism does not simply aim at tolerance of the other but entails an active effort to gain an understanding of the other. The first important verse of the Quran that immediately catches our attention reads, “There shall be no compulsion in religion.” (2:256).

This reflects the honor God has reserved for man and the high regard in which man’s will, thought and emotions are held, and the freedom he is granted to choose his beliefs, and the responsible position he is granted to be judge of his own actions.

Then if one looks into the life of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH one may draw on many examples to portray the high level of tolerance shown to people of other faiths.

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