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Friday Focus – Islamic Attitude: Decisive Yet Tolerant

Friday Focus – Islamic Attitude: Decisive Yet Tolerant
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Dawood Nabi


In The Holy Quran, Chapter four, verse Number 89, Allah gives a verdict against hypocrites, who on one hand, by making the declaration that brings people into Islam, claimed to be Muslims, yet on the other hand, side decidedly with the disbelievers, that they should be taken prisoners and killed where ever they are found.

“They would love to see you disbelieve as they themselves disbelieve, so that you may be all alike. Do not, therefore, take them for your allies, until they migrate for God’s cause. If they turn against you, then seize them and kill them wherever you may find them. Do not take any of them for your ally or support”  (04:89)

 But there is an exception stated in the very next verse. Allah says

“Except for those who take refuge with a people between yourselves and whom is a treaty…” (04:90)

We see here that Islam prefers peace whenever there is room for a peace which does not hinder its work of conveying its message to people freely and allows them the freedom of choice. For this reason, those who seek refuge and live with any group of people who are bound by a treaty or a covenant with Muslims enjoy the same treatment as the people with whom they live. The same state of peace applies to them. This is a clear evidence of the peaceful nature of Islam.

Further, those individuals or communities are also exempted from the verdict of imprisonment and execution who wish to take a neutral position, i.e., not joining the fight which takes place between their people and Muslims. Allah says

“…or those who come to you with their hearts strained at [the prospect of] fighting you or fighting their own people…” (04:90)

Again this ruling is an evidence of the Islamic desire to avoid fighting others whenever they refrain from fighting against Muslims and choose to be neutral between them and their enemies. Those who did not wish to fight on either side were present in Arabia and in fact, within Qureysh itself. Islam did not imply on them to take sides for or against it. It was sufficient that they didn’t oppose it. There was, at the same time, a hope that once the circumstances which cause them to be reluctant in adopting Islam were removed, they would eventually side with Islam, and that is what exactly happened in many cases.

After this, Allah makes the other possibility evident upon the believers and makes it clear that it is preferable to Allah and thus should be preferable to the believers that these groups or individuals remain, at least, neutral. He says

”…Had Allah so willed, He could have given them power over you so that they would have fought you. Therefore, if they leave you alone and do not make war on you and offer you peace, Allah has given you no way [to fight] against them.” (4:90)

We note here the fine touch which restrains those over enthusiastic Muslims who may not like this attitude of neutrality shown on part of these people, thus, wanting to fight them .

It is also a reminder of Allah’s grace who restrained these people from taking a hostile attitude which could have increased the burden on the Muslims. Muslims are instructed to accept whatever goodness is offered to them and to avoid evil which stays away from them, as long as this does not involve any relaxation of Islamic principles or complacency in matters of faith or humiliation to Muslims through a sell-out to their enemies. A cheap peace, in which any of the rights of the Muslims are not secure is in no way acceptable, rather, the aim is to achieve peace which does not encroach on any of the rights of Muslims or Islam, whether these rights individual or collective.

It is only right and proper that all impediments should be removed from the way of conveying the message of Islam to mankind, so that everyone who receives this message feels free to accept it without being exposed to any harm anywhere in the world. It is also needed that Islam acquires sufficient strength to eliminate any form of hostile attitude in any way that can inflict harm of any sort on those who believe in it. Beyond that, peace is to all.

We thus see the perfect balance in the Islamic attitude, it is serious and decisive, and yet, at the same time, it is tolerant. When we consider both features, we realize that they give every Muslim a balanced attitude which becomes an essential feature of the Islamic system as a whole.

Author is Student Of Islamic Theology and Is Interested in Didactic Debates and Contemporary Social and Identity Issues.His twitter handle is  @Harduk_wav

Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of Oracle Opinions.


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