Tolerance is a basic principle of Islam. It is a religious and moral duty and Islam teaches tolerance on all levels: individual, groups and states. Tolerance is the mechanism that upholds human rights and the rule of law. The Quran says very clearly: To every People have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow, let them not then dispute with you on the matter, but do invite (them) to your Lord: for you are assuredly on the Right Way. If they do wrangle with you, say, ‘God knows best what it is you are doing.’ ‘God will judge between you on the Day of Judgement concerning the matters in which you differ (Al-Hajj 22:67-69).
The Nuisances of the Pigeon-Fancier, Sheikh Abu Ali Thaqafi had a neighbour who loved pigeons. His pigeons would perch on the roof of the Sheikh’s house and in order to make them fly away, he would fling stones at them, an act that caused disturbance and inconvenience to the Sheikh. One day, the Sheikh was sitting in his house reciting the Noble Quran, when the neighbour hurled a stone at the pigeons. The stone struck the Sheikh on his forehead, injuring him and causing blood to flow down his forehead. The Sheikh’s companions were overjoyed and spoke amongst themselves: “Tomorrow, the Sheikh is bound to complain to the governor of the city and we shall soon be relieved of the pigeon-fancier’s nuisance”. The Sheikh summoned his servant and instructed him to bring a long branch of a tree. When the servant had brought the branch the Sheikh said to him: “Now take this branch to the pigeon-fancier and ask him not to throw stones but to use this instead to make the pigeons fly”.
The Conduct of Imam Sajjad(a.s.)Once a relative of Imam Sajjad(a.s.) approached the Imam(a.s.) and began to revile and insult him. The Imam(a.s.) did not utter a word in reply but, after the man had left the gathering he turned to the people around him and said: “You heard what this man said. Now I want you to accompany me and hear what I have to say in response to his abuses and insults”. The companions complied, “We shall surely accompany you; in fact we had hoped that you would reply to him at that very moment”. The Imam(a.s.) set off towards the person’s house and was heard reciting the following Quranic verse:.. And who restrain (their) anger, and forgive (the faults of) men; for God loves those who do good (to others). Quran: 3.134. The narrator says: “When we heard the recitation of this verse, we realized that the Imam (a.s.) intended to exhibit goodness towards the person who had just insulted him”. When he reached the person’s house, the Imam (a.s.) called out to him and announced his arrival. On seeing the Imam the person immediately assumed that he had come to respond to his abuses. However, as soon as the Imam(a.s.) saw the man he said, “O’ Brother! You came to me and uttered things which were appalling and unpleasant. If what you have attributed to me is true, I seek forgiveness for myself from God, but if it is not so, then I pray that God forgives you”. The man was shocked to hear these words and repented, he kissed Imam Sajjad(a.s.) between the eyes and apologised, saying: “My insults and abuse were unfounded and cannot be attributed to your character. In fact those insults befit me more than you”.
There are many wonderful examples of the Holy Prophet Muhammed(saaw), when Prophet Muhammad(saaw) migrated to Medina, he found that besides those who had accepted Islam there was a large Jewish community in that city but this did not bother him. He did not contemplate forcing them into the fold of Islam, instead he made a peace agreement with them and called them Ahlul Kitab—the people of the Scripture. This was indeed the supreme example of tolerance shown towards the followers of other religions. The peace agreement between the Prophet(saaw) and the Jews of Medina clearly guaranteed the physical safety and security of the Jewish community and also the freedom for them to practise there as long as they also abided by the terms of the treaty. So we see that even historically the Prophet of Islam (saaw) was prepared to live in peace with the followers of other Monotheistic religions, especially Judaism and Christianity. The Quranic Point of view, were Moses (as), Jesus (as) and Prophet Muhammad(saaw) ordered by the Almighty to impose their teachings upon the people? Absolutely not! In the Quran Allah(swt) clearly outlines the duty of His messengers by saying: “(And as for My messenger) there is no (obligation) on him except to deliver (the message). God knows what you expose and what you conceal”. (Quran 5:99). Once the people of Mecca said to Prophet Muhammad(saaw) that if God did not want them to worship idols why does He(swt) not forcefully prevent them from doing so. Then God sent the following verse: “O Muhammad(saaw), This is not a new excuse; those who went before them made the same excuses. Is there anything upon the messengers except the clear conveying of the message”. (Quran 16.35). So we see that from the Quranic point of view, the mission of the Prophets and Messengers of God was not to forcefully impose their teachings on the people but to guide them and ask them to accept God with their own will, in one revelation God says to Prophet Muhammad(saaw): “Say: Obey Allah and obey the Apostle; but if you turn back, then on him rests what is imposed upon him and on you rests what is imposed upon you; and if you obey him, you are on the right way; and nothing rests upon the Apostle but clear delivering (of the message)” (Quran 24:54). The Quran clearly says that religion cannot be forced on anyone. It says, “There is no compulsion in the way of life” (Quran 2.256). A question arises: If Allah(swt) gave the choice to believe or not to believe, why then did He(swt) punish the people of Prophet Nuh(as), the `Ad, the Thamud, the people of Prophet Lut(as), the people of Prophet Shu`ayb(as) and Pharaoh and his followers? The answer is in the Quran itself.
Those people were not punished simply because of their disbelief. They were punished because they had become oppressors. They committed aggression against the righteous, and stopped others from coming to the way of Allah. There were many in the world who denied Allah(swt), but Allah(swt) did not punish everyone. “Allah(swt) does not forbid you that you show kindness and deal justly with those who did not fight you in your religion and did not drive you out from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah(swt) loves the doers of justice” (Quran 60:8). In today’s world tolerance is even more important, with the world getting ever smaller and good or misdeeds being spread around the globe instantly, a lack of tolerance will very easily create strife and discord where it needn’t be. We must first remind ourselves that Allah(swt) is the creator of all and knows the good and bad deeds of each and every person including our own, yet even with this knowledge He(swt) tolerates and gives us all a chance to reform ourselves. Tolerance therefore should be a part of a believer’s character, in fact whether a person has a faith or none, tolerance within oneself is a noble trait that should be nurtured.
“Intolerance is a prison where one resides due to ignorance, tolerance is a vast garden with enough room for all”.
Unity amongst people is a fundamental within Islam and all virtuous faiths, it is only evil satanic doctrines that are trying to divide and cause disunity on every level, from breaking the family structure to causing conflicts on a much wider scale.
Let’s take a scenario to make this point clear, imagine that you are the owner of a diamond more beautiful than the Koh-i-Noor, more pure, larger and perfect in every way making it for example worth £100 Million pounds. This diamond could be sold and so much good could be done with that money, people could be fed, medical supplies provided, homes for the homeless and whatever Charitable things we can think of could be done for so many people with £100 Million.
Now imagine that you and your £100 Million diamond are the only ones left on planet earth, all other life except human life is still the same but you are now the only human being left, the question now is what is your diamond worth now? the answer is £0, zero, zip, zilch, whatever word we want to use the answer is absolutely nothing.
The next question, where is the value gone? this scenario proves to us that the true worth is the worth of a human being. Allah(swt) has told us to go forth and multiply, to become families, communities, societies, by being a part of any of these we can play our part or assist others to make life better for them and for ourselves.
Every pure minded soul will live a life in which they care for others, reach out and help, give of what they have been given to raise others, whereas the opposite Satanic call is ‘Do what thou wilt’.
The self, ego this is what is promoted by Satanic forces as it’s all about you, we have however already demonstrated that it only being about you equates to the value of zero, worthless.
Any faith worth anything will call for tolerance and unity, this unity between us will God Willing awaken us to the ultimate unity and that is the unity of Allah(swt) or Tauheed in Arabic.
Holy Quran:(3.103) And hold fast by the covenant of Allah(swt) all together and be not disunited, and remember the favor of Allah(swt) on you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts so by His favor you became brethren; and you were on the brink of a pit of fire, then He saved you from it, thus does Allah(swt) make clear to you His communications that you may follow the right way.
An excerpt fro the last sermon of Prophet Muhammad(saaw):
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor does a black have any superiority over a white – except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware: do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone”
Holy Prophet Muhammed(saaw) “The most complete in faith among the believers is he who has the best manners”.
Imam Ali(as) “Habituate yourself to magnanimity, and choose for yourself the most excellent of all etiquettes, for virtuous behavior is a habit. Avoid the most low of all etiquettes, and struggle with yourself to avoid it, for evil is stubborn”.
This Du’a has been taught by Imam Sajjad(as) and is a clear indication of the loftiness of moral virtues expected of a believer. Islam believes in the elevation of the human being, that a human is a great and dignified creation, far above the animal world. In this Du”a the Imam specifies these qualities, and shows how we can try to inculcate them in ourselves. Taken as a lesson in Akhlaq, the Du’a is a wonderful program for those who wish to excel in good manners.
In the Name of Allah, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household
Cause my faith to reach the most perfect faith, make my certainty the most excellent certainty, and take my intention to the best of intentions and my works to the best of works! O Allah, complete my intention through Thy gentleness, rectify my certainty through what is with Thee, and set right what is corrupt in me through Thy power!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, spare me the concerns which distract me, employ me in that about which Thou wilt ask me tomorrow, and let me pass my days in that for which Thou hast created me! Free me from need, expand Thy provision toward me, and tempt me not with ingratitude! Exalt me and afflict me not with pride! Make me worship Thee and corrupt not my worship with self-admiration! Let good flow out from my hands upon the people and efface it not by my making them feel obliged! Give me the highest moral traits and preserve me from vainglory!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, raise me not a single degree before the people without lowering me its like in myself and bring about no outward exaltation for me without an inward abasement in myself to the same measure!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and Muhammad’s Household, give me to enjoy a sound guidance which I seek not to replace, a path of truth from which I swerve not, and an intention of right conduct in which I have no doubts! Let me live as long as my life is a free gift in obeying Thee, but if my life should become a pasture for Satan, seize me to Thyself before Thy hatred overtakes me or Thy wrath against be becomes firm! O Allah, deposit in me no quality for which I will be faulted, unless Thou sett it right, no flaw for which I will be blamed, unless Thou make it beautiful, no deficient noble trait, unless Thou completest it!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and Muhammad’s Household and replace for me the animosity of the people of hatred with love, the envy of the people of insolence with affection, the suspicion of the people of righteousness with trust, the enmity of those close with friendship, the disrespect of womb relatives with devotion, the abandonment of relatives with help, the attachment of flatterers with love set right, the rejection of fellows with generous friendliness, and the bitterness of the fear of wrongdoers with the sweetness of security!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, appoint for me a hand against him who wrongs me, a tongue against him who disputes with me, and a victory over him who stubbornly resists me! Give me guile against him who schemes against me, power over him who oppresses me, refutation of him who reviles me, and safety from him who threatens me! Grant me success to obey him who points me straight and follow him who guides me right!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household and point me straight to resist him who is dishonest toward me with good counsel, repay him who separates from me with gentle devotion, reward him who deprives me with free giving, recompense him who cuts me off with joining, oppose him who slanders me with excellent mention, give thanks for good, and shut my eyes to evil!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, adorn me with the adornment of the righteous, and clothe me in the ornaments of the Godfearing, through spreading justice, restraining rage, quenching the flame of hate, bringing together the people of separation, correcting discord, spreading about good behaviour, covering faults, mildness of temper, lowering the wing, beauty of conduct, gravity of bearing, agreeableness in comportment, precedence in reaching excellence, preferring bounteousness, refraining from condemnation, bestowing bounty on the undeserving, speaking the truth, though it be painful, making little of the good in my words and deeds, though it be much, and making much of the evil in my words and deeds, though it be little! Perfect this for me through lasting obedience, holding fast to the community, and rejecting the people of innovation and those who act in accordance with original opinions!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, appoint for me Thy widest provision in my old age and Thy strongest strength when I am exhausted, try me not with laziness in worship of Thee, blindness toward Thy path, undertaking what opposes love for Thee, joining with him who has separated himself from Thee, and separating from him who has joined himself to Thee! O Allah, make me leap to Thee in times of distress, ask from Thee in needs, and plead to Thee in misery! Tempt me not to seek help from other than Thee when I am distressed, to humble myself in asking from someone else when I am poor, or to plead with someone less than Thee when I fear, for then I would deserve Thy abandonment, Thy withholding, and Thy turning away, O Most Merciful of the merciful! O Allah, make the wishing, the doubt, and the envy which Satan throws into my heart a remembrance of Thy mightiness, a reflection upon Thy power, and a devising against Thy enemy! Make everything he causes to pass over my tongue, – the indecent or ugly words, the maligning of good repute, the false witness, the speaking ill of an absent man of faith or the reviling of one present, and all things similar – a speech in praise of Thee, a pursuit of eulogizing Thee, an excursion in magnifying Thee, a thanksgiving for Thy favour, an acknowledgement of Thy beneficence, and an enumeration of Thy kindnesses!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, let me not be wronged while Thou canst repel from me, let me not do wrong while Thou art powerful over holding me back, let me not be misguided while Thou art able to guide me, let me not be poor while with Thee is my plenty, let me not be insolent while from Thee comes my wealth! O Allah, I come to Thy forgiveness, I go straight to Thy pardon, I yearn for Thy forbearance, and I trust in Thy bounty, but there is nothing with me to make me warrant Thy forgiveness, nothing in my works to make me merit Thy pardon, and nothing on my behalf after I judge my soul but Thy bounty, so bless Muhammad and his Household and bestow Thy bounty upon me! O Allah, make my speech be guidance, inspire me with reverential fear, give me success in that which is most pure, and employ me in what is most pleasing to Thee! O Allah, let me tread the most exemplary path and make me live and die in Thy creed!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, give me to enjoy moderation, make me into one of the people of right behaviour, the proofs of right conduct, and the servants of righteousness, and provide me with triumph at the place of Return and safety from the Ambush! O Allah, take to Thyself from my soul what will purify it and leave for my soul that of my soul that will set it right, for my soul will perish unless Thou preserve it! O Allah, Thou art my stores when I sorrow, Thou art my recourse when I am deprived, from Thee I seek aid when troubled and with Thee is a substitute for everything gone by, a correction for everything corrupted, and a change from everything Thou disapprove. So show kindness to me with well-being before affliction, wealth before asking, right conduct before misguidance; suffice me against the burden of shame toward the servants, give me security on the Day of Return, and grant me excellent right guidance!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, repel from me through Thy gentleness, feed me through Thy favour, set me right through Thy generosity, heal me through Thy benefaction, shade me in Thy shelter, wrap me in Thy good pleasure, and give me success to reach the most guided of affairs when affairs confuse me, the purest of works when works seem similar, and the most pleasing to Thee of creeds when creeds conflict!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, crown me with sufficiency, place in me excellent guardianship, give me to guide correctly, tempt me not with plenty, grant me excellent ease, make not my life toil and trouble, and refuse not my supplication in rejection, for I make none rival to Thee and I supplicate none with Thee as equal!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, hold me back from prodigality, fortify my provision against ruin, increase my possessions through blessing them, and set me upon the path of guidance through piety in what I spend!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, spare me the burden of earning, and provide for me without reckoning, lest I be distracted from Thy worship through seeking and carry the load of earning’s ill results! O Allah, bestow upon me what I seek through Thy power and grant me sanctuary from what I fear through Thy might!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, save my face through ease, and demean not my dignity through neediness, lest I seek provision from those whom Thou hast provided and asks for bestowal from the worst of Thy creatures! Then I would be tried by praising him who gave to me and afflicted with blaming him who held back from me, while Thou – not they – art patron of giving and holding back.
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household and provide me with soundness in worship, detachment in renunciation, knowledge put into action, and abstinence in measure! O Allah, seal my term with Thy pardon, verify my expectation in hoping for Thy mercy, smooth my paths to reach Thy good pleasure, and make my works good in all my states!
O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, incite me to remember Thee in times of heedlessness, employ me in Thy obedience in days of disregard, open a smooth road for me to Thy love, and complete for me thereby the good of this world and the next!
O Allah, and bless Muhammad and his Household the best Thou hast blessed any of Thy creatures before him and wilt bless any of them after him, and give to us in this World good, and in the next world good, and protect me through Thy mercy from the chastisement of the Fire!