Islam is not a religion that imposes its rule
21 Aug 2011 05:23 GMT
The word ‘Islam’ stands for ‘Peace’ or ‘Submission’. A Muslim believes in one, sole, incomparable God, he believes in the revealed scriptures, in the Prophets through whom his revelation were made to mankind and in the Day of Judgment. However Islam is not a religion that imposes its rule.

Islam is one religion that openly promotes not only the peace and understanding within the religion but also with people belonging to other religions as well. Islam teaches that humanity should live in peace and harmony, and makes it mandatory for every Muslim to respect other religions.  Islam is the only religion that states that any man who makes an action to harm or cause grievance to another person is responsible for a grave error, one that is akin to his having harmed all of mankind. It is just an example that makes it clear that Islam by far is the most secular religion, which believes in letting the people of other religion preach their own religion. There are a number of instance that one gets from the manuscripts of Islamic literature. Islam sermonizes that, forget killing anyone,  it further stresses on being kind in one’s dealings with every person, of any cast, creed, color, sex, belief and religion in this whole world and makes it mandatory for every Muslim to spread the peaceful message of Islam.

Islam, if understood in the true context is an inviting and sensitive part of life; it is not a religion that estranges non-Muslims for that matter. In fact, the concept of ‘dawa’ meaning inviting everyone to Islam is a basic principle of Islam, wherein a Muslim has to be a source of guidance for a non-follower in the pursuit of truth. Unfortunately some people or ideologies in the world have stereotyped the Islamic concept.

Islamic history tells us that the religion has always opposed theocracy and supported democracy, and also taken measures to guarantee rights of women as well as non-Muslims in Islamic countries. Islamic ideology also believes in defending freedom of thought and the belief in the great potential of human progress. Islam believes in active contribution towards the civil society and encourages dialog process with other social groups. Imparting education to children is of paramount importance for any Muslim. Islamist have also come forward urged to world to look both the inheritance and experience of others to develop a highly effective democratic political system, which suits today’s global age.

Presently there are many Islamic countries in the world like Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, who have come up and taken a stance for the unison of humanity as a whole and against those stereotypes who by their myopic vision have made Islam look like a very strict religion. It is noteworthy that the above-mentioned countries have a total Muslim population of more than 80%. In these countries every individual is free to practice any religion and no compulsion or oppression is impressed upon the non-followers in such countries. India, the world’s largest democracy, in which Muslims form the 2nd largest majority, practices secularism. The embodiment or the epitome of secularism in India can be seen in the family of the Chief Minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. Mr. Omar Abdullah, being a Muslim by faith, has married a Sikh lady and his sister has married to a Hindu man and his mother is a practicing Catholic. What better example of secularism can one find? Belonging to a prominent Muslim family, Mr. Abdullah’s family is an example of Islam allows tolerance and understanding.

Islam is a religion that allows marriages with people of specific faiths. There are limitations, but the fact remains that there is relaxation in terms of human will and a person is free to make a choice. There are many religions that do not allow inter faith marriages but Islam unlike many religions, allow marriages with people of other religions also. Followers of Islam can marry Christians and Jews, who are also followers of the revealed religions, people who follow the revealed Holy Scriptures.

Inter-religious harmony can be best seen within Islam. The Final Prophet of Islam Hz Mohammed always presented the first portions of gifts received by his family to his neighbors, who were of Jewish faith. Many Muslims have taken the call of inter-faith harmony a step further; many non-Muslim personalities are being invited as the chief guests at the gatherings of events and functions organized by Muslim organizations and events held by Muslim clerics across various countries of the world.

The Holy Qur’an teaches that whosoever kills a person without justifiable cause will be punished as if he has killed the whole world. The other teaching of the Holy Qur’an is that there is no compulsion in the Islamic faith. Even the Holy Prophet has said, “Each one of you is free in matters of faith. You are our Zimmi (a non-Muslim living in a Muslim country). God and his Messenger shall be fully responsible for your safety.”

It is clear from various verses of the Holy Qur’an that in the teachings of Islam there can be no compulsion in matters of faith. God Almighty has left the choice of which belief to accept to be determined by the conscience of each individual.  

-- Al Arabiya Digital