Author: Hasan Hakeem
My Dear Brothers & Sisters,
We are living in a day and age when Islam finds itself attacked on all fronts and it stands in the face of innumerable odds. That’s nothing new to Islam and it has stood firm over the test of time. As it held strong in the times of the Holy Prophet sws, so shall it hold strong in the times of the Promised Messiah AS. However, most interesting about this present day dilemma is the fact that one of our worst enemies is the Muslim community itself, and the ignorance that has festered within over the centuries. It’s time we waged a holy war on this ignorance. In fact, the greatest jihad we face today is educating Muslims of the true meaning of jihad, and the fundamental Islamic virtue of tolerance.
Islam has always upheld the highest virtues of morality and manners, even to the extent of smiling when greeting your fellow man “even to the extent of moving obstacles on the road” .even to the extent of showing generosity and kindness to the orphan, the widow, the sick, the poor, the hungry, and all animals. So I ask you, how could such an intensely deep and profound message as Islam, overlook the fundamental teaching of tolerance? The fact of the matter is, Islam holds the highest value to tolerance. We see this teaching clearly in the Holy Quran where it says:
“There is no compulsion in religion. Surely, right has become distinct from wrong?” (Chapter 2, Verse 257)
We hear this verse all the time?but let?s make some sense out of it?.let?s think about it on a practical level. We all agree that religions are designed to promote a relationship of love with our Creator, God. Now, why would God need to force us to love Him? That?s self contradictory!! Can you think of forcing a woman to love a man?.or forcing a man to love a woman, against their will??!! It ceases to be love?.by definition!! It?s like trying to clean one?s self with filth, or going upstairs by going downstairs?.you get the picture. A self contradiction in and of itself !!
So if we can?t fathom such foolishness in our daily lives?why do we attribute the foolishness of intolerance to the Words of God? Why do we insult God by associating Him with the idol of intolerance? But far is Allah from such stupidity?.Holy is Allah, Subhaan-Allah. We must eradicate this shirk from our communities.
So what is the punishment we should exercise against someone who doesn’t accept Islam? The answer is simple, the punishment is absolutely nothing. That’s right, absolutely nothing. No better place can we see this, than in the Holy Quran itself. It says:
“If they accept [your teachings], then they will surely be rightly guided, but if they turn back, then your duty is only to convey [the Message].” (Chapter 2, Verse 21]
It also states:
“Truth has come to you from your Lord. So whosoever follows the guidance, follows it only for the good of his own soul, and whosoever errs, errs only against [his own soul]. And I am not a keeper over you.” (Chapter 10, 109)
So there you have it, we are not keepers over anybody and we are certainly not responsible for exercising any punishment to anyone who rejects Islam. And why should we? If Islam brings about the betterment of one’s life, isn’t it punishment enough to reject something good in your life? For example, if I reject education, isn’t ignorance enough of a punishment for me? If I choose not to eat nutritious food, isn’t my resulting poor health enough a punishment for me to suffer? This is the Natural Law that Allah has set in motion, we suffer the consequences of our own actions and our choices.
Islamic teachings overflow with the tolerance towards others. We accept all the Prophets sent to all the Nations throughout time; whether we know their names or not. Isn’t that a monumental victory for tolerance?
We accept their profession of believing in God, and we accept their different names as expressions of the One True God, Allah, whether they call him Jehovah, Yahweh, Ahura Mazda, Brahma or the Great Spirit. The Holy Quran commands us to respect their expressions of God, and we are forbidden to insult that which they worship. [Chapter 6: Verse109] Another example of Islam’s tolerance to others.
One of the most powerful examples of tolerance we see in the Holy Quran relates to the defense of houses of worship. The Quran states:
“Permission [to fight] is [only] granted to those against whom war is declared, because they have been wronged”..[These are the people] who have been driven out of their homes unjustly only because they said, “Our Lord is Allah” “and if Allah had not repelled some men by means of others, it would have surely resulted in the destruction of cloisters, churches, synagogues, and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is continually glorified.” (Chapter 22, Verses 40 & 41)
According to these verses, if any of us Muslims see a church, synagogue, temple, or any other house of worship being wrongfully attacked, we are not only to defend it, but if we should die in the process, we die the death of a martyr. This is not only tolerance, but the institutionalized protection of it by the State.
Tolerance is one of the prized jewels of Allah’s teachings. Anyone who opposes these self-evident Truths, is spiritually termed a pig. They roll around in the filthy philosophies which sow the seeds of dissension and destruction to communal harmony. That’s why Jesus says in the Bible, “Do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample over them.”
Similarly, this is one of the prophecies in Bukhari, that when the Promised Messiah would appear in the latter days, he would “kill the swine”. We have all witnessed the fulfillment of this prophecy in Zion, Illinois. A man by the name of John Alexander Dowie personified the epitome of intolerance. He used profane rhetoric against the Holy Founder of Islam, peace be upon him, and Islam in general. His intolerance didn?t stop there. His intolerance spread to other Christian groups and contagiously victimized anyone who disagreed with his interpretation of Christianity. That was until a voice was heard from a man in a remote, unheard of village in India, Qadian to be exact. This was no ordinary voice though. The Hadith say that this man’s voice alone would dissolve disbelief. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian stood up against this man and his intolerant views and abuse. His only weapons were his pen and his prayers; but those were pretty potent weapons. And the whole world was forced to testify how this prophecy was fulfilled. Now standing in Zion is a building on the corner of 173 and Gabriel, which boasts the motto, “Love for all, Hatred for none“. It shouts out at you as you drive by, and u can’t miss it. That happens to be the house of worship of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission.
Zion does not only bear the historic evidence of the victory of the Promised Messiah, but it stands as a testament to the victory of tolerance over the forces of bigotry, hatred and ignorance.
True jihad is striving to win the pleasure of Allah whether it be as discreet as helping an elderly person with his or her bags, ..or suppressing one’s anger when tempted to show it off, ..and it can be as major and profound as standing up to a tyrannical ruler oppressing his or her subject. It is strictly for the promotion of all things good in order to please Allah. However, let me caution you, as soon as you allow an ulterior motive to creep in, u better forget it, u’re no longer in the state of jihad as understood in Islam, now u’re in it for yourself.
Tolerance is fundamental to Islam and is inseparably woven into the fabric of our teachings. This, my fellow brothers and sisters, is the cloth of righteousness, and keep in mind, the Holy Quran says, “the best clothing is the cloth of righteousness”. So hold on to the rope of Allah, I don’t want to see any of you getting sweaty palms. Islam has no tolerance for intolerance, So instill the Islamic principles of tolerance in your daily lives. Learn to tolerate differences in your communities, understand that people have just as much a right to believe their views, as u have a right to believe yours. If u stand firm, Islam stands firm, as it has over the last 1400 years, and in the end, for all things good and bad, we praise Allah and Allah Alone, Alhamdulillah.