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Does Islam Practice Religious Tolerance?

Religious Tolerance in Islam

Interfaith Respect

Love, mercy, and compassion in Islam goes far beyond mere tolerance.

Did you know that Islam commands religious tolerance, and promotes love and respect between people?

It safeguards all places of worship, not only mosques but synagogues, churches, and temples as well. It also teaches to love and accept all the Prophets, from Adam, Abraham, Solomon, Jesus to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon them)

Embracing Diversity

God reminds us in the Quran that we are all created by the same Merciful Creator to whom we must return one day. In Islam, Jews and Christians are called “People of the Book” and it is acceptable for Muslim men to marry women who are practicing these religions. This means Muslim kids can have Christian or Jewish grandparents, aunts, cousins, and even a mom. Most food of Jews and Christians is also allowed to be eaten which encourages friendly ties and respectful relationships. (Some exceptions are pork, alcohol, and anything specified as non-permissible in Islam.)

Guidance Comes From God Alone

It is only God Who guides His creation. Not everyone will be Muslim, but that does not change the treatment God requires all Muslims to give to anyone who believes differently.

Every Muslim submits to the Will of God and strives to live their life in obedience to Him. No one can do that under force or pressure.

God explains in the Quran:

“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong.” [Noble Quran 2:256]

The tender-hearted Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was anxious to guide all the people, but was told by God in the Quran he was just a Prophet and a Messenger. He was chosen to invite in a wise and gracious manner only. And that is exactly what he did.

An Ultimate Teacher of Tolerance

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was sent by God as “a Mercy to all of the Worlds”. He was compassionate and merciful when dealing with people of other religious beliefs. He felt protective of them, their freedom, their well being, and their rights.

After the migration from Mecca to Medina, the Prophet established the first Islamic constitution which safeguarded equality and protection for all citizens regardless of origin or faith. The religious minorities were allowed to judge among themselves according to the laws of their beliefs. However, they often chose to let Prophet Muhammad ﷺ judge between them because he was fair and did not discriminate. He ﷺ warned anyone who disobeyed God’s command and was intolerant to people of other religions:

“Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgement.”

The following is the beginning of a letter he dictated to his emissary to the religious leaders of Saint Catherine in Mount Sinai where he defended the Christian citizens:

This is a message from Muhammad son of Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants (of Allah), the helpers, and my followers defend them because Christians are my citizens; and by God! I hold out against anything that displeases them. Neither are the judges to be removed from their jobs nor the monks from their monasteries…

Interfaith Love & Mercy

Love is the cornerstone of religious tolerance in Islam. Although acceptance is a religious obligation in Islam, it is not just based on rules or cold politeness. It must come from the heart and be sincere. Our Creator asks us to establish connections and to follow the beautiful example of the Messenger ﷺ.

When you read the Quran and look at the blessed life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ you will be enlightened and delighted with the truth. You will see that Islam is a religion of peace and empathy. It promotes loving relationships between people of all faiths and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was the best example of mankind. If you want to learn how you can follow in his footsteps, read the Quran today!

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