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Understand Islam

What is Islamic View on Pluralism? Can a Muslim Be Communal?

Islam teaches that it is not one’s birth, but good deeds and faith that determine one’s nobility. The Islamic slogan “One God for one mankind” aims at eliminating all the narrow views, like communalism, casteism, racism etc. Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ) declared in plain words that “He who invites to communalism, fights and dies for communalism, not belong to us”. The followers of Muhammed (ﷺ) therefore can never be communal.

Islam and Pluralism

No doubt Islam stands for pluralistic order. Pluralism is the design of Allah. The Quran states: “If it had been your Lord’s will, they would all have believed, all who are on the earth. Will you then compel mankind against their will to believe?” [10:99]. In another verse, Quran states: “To each among you, have We prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but His plan is to test you in what He has given you; so, strive as in a race in good deeds” [5:48].

An examination of the texts of these two verses makes it clear that diversity is the will of Allah. These verses also make it clear that compulsion in the matter of faith is forbidden which is also corroborated by another verse of the Quran which states: “Let there be no compulsion in religion” [2:256].

A critical look of the text of the verse 5:48 manifests that the purpose of these differences is to test, what we do with the revelations and how we behave with the precepts and teachings of Islam and who strive as in a race in good deeds. Diversity of religions, nations and peoples are tests and the teachings of Islam require that we manage the differences and live a peaceful harmonious life in this world. This is pluralism.

Islam is basically a tolerant religion. The difference between people, nations, races, and religions may lead to conflict and therefore our responsibility remains in establishing peace and tranquility in the society. It is important that a balance is established in the society based on mutual respect, love and compassion rejecting all types of arrogance, whether it is material or intellectual and establishing such balance between different nations and communities is possible only by sharing knowledge about each other.

Establishing harmonious relations between people have been repeatedly emphasized in Islam. Quran states: “Allah forbids you not with regard to those who fight you not for your faith nor drive you out of your homes from dealing kindly and justly with them for Allah loves those who are just” [60:8].

The pluralistic nature of Islam is evident from the fact that the duty of a Muslim is only educating and passing the knowledge of Islam, near and far. Quran states: “And admonish your nearest kinsmen” [26: 214]. The responsibility ends with educating, transmitting, and communicating faith. To pass on the message is to call and invite people to the way of Allah.

If we all really want to serve the objective of Allah Almighty, then we have to change ourselves, we have to think in terms of brotherhood, mutual co-existence and interdependence of whole global society which includes all human beings of all nations, all territories, all religions, races and all languages. We have to accept that we all are equal before Allah Almighty and most revered is the righteous. We must keep in mind that Allah Almighty has created all of us from one pair Adam and Eve. We have to purify our conscious and sub conscious thinking to make it in conformity with the commandments of Allah Almighty so that we are ready to pursue for Divine arrangement of the whole world. This whole world belongs to Allah Almighty. We all need to bear this in mind.

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