Faris Abdat: Exclusivism Is Not Taught In Islam, Ignorance Is Cause For Misunderstanding

Nicholas Fang is the the executive director of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

Yet when he speaks about the causes of terrorism and linking it with what he says is exclusivism in Islam, it shows that he is not in a position to speak about Islam or terrorism.

At all.

Exclusivism as understood by Mr Fang is never taught by Islam. Islam teaches Muslims to be tolerant and at the same time to be principled.

While Islam says that it is the only true religion, Islam also says that non-believers have every right to believe in what they believe to be true and to practice those beliefs.

The Quran says explicitly –

1. ” There is no compulsion in religion. Truth is clear from error ” ( The Quran 2:256)

2. ” If it had been the Will of your Lord, they would all have believed – all who are on earth ! Will you then compel mankind, against their will, to believe ? (The Quran 10:99)

3. “If then they turn away, We have not sent you as a guard over them. Your duty is only to convey (the Message).” ( The Quran 42: 48)

4. ” Clear proofs have indeed come to you; from your Lord; so whoever sees, it is for his own good; and whoever is blind [ to the Truth ] it is to his own harm. And I am not a keeper over you.” ( The Quran 6:105 )

By insisting therefore that non-Muslims have the right to believe in what their hearts believe to be true, Islam has laid a solid foundation in the relationship between the Muslim and non-Muslim. Indeed, Islam emphasizes that the non-Muslim is not to be injured, harmed, embarrassed or distressed on the account of his faith.

In the Charter of Privileges sent by the Prophet Muhammad to the Christians of Najran, we read –

5. ” This is a message from [Prophet] Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion [in religion] is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them.

If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their Churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (of Muslims) is to disobey this covenant till the Last Day (end of the world). ”

Not only that, Islam explicitly advocates peaceful dialogues and co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims. The Quran is explicit in how Muslims should behave when calling others to Islam for example by employing tact, logic and politeness ; that Muslims have to respect the religious choices of non-Muslims without being judgmental or hurtful and that Muslims must behave with kindness and fairness towards those non-Muslims who desire peaceful co-existence, where the Quran clearly equates that kindness and fairness with Allah’s love.

In this regard, the Quran says –

6 ” Invite all to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious. Your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who have received guidance. ” ( The Quran 16 :125).

7. “And argue not with the People of the Book [ Christians and Jews ] unless it be in a way that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say ‘ We believe in that which has been revealed to us and to you; and our God and your God is one and unto Him we submit [ in Islam] ‘ ” ( The Quran 29:46)

8. “Say: ‘O People of the Book [ Jews and Christians ] ! Come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.’ If then they turn back, say you: ‘Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will).’ ( The Quran, 3 : 64)

Indeed Islam expressedly instructs Muslims to be kind, compassionate, just and fair to non-Muslims as the norm.

9. “Allah does not forbid you, with regard to those who do not fight against you for your faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah love those who are just.” (The Quran 60: 8).

Mr Fang claimed that ” Much of the rationale and motivation for recent terror attacks stem from interpretations of religious texts and teachings that emphasise exclusivism “.

If his claim is indeed true, then it does not prove that exclusivism is the culprit. Rather it proves that ignorance equal misunderstanding.

Islam does says it is the only true religion and we Muslims believe that Islam offers the only way to salvation both in this life and the next but that belief can never be justified to killing non-Muslims.

Anyone who believes that Islam teaches exclusivism as Mr Fang understands it which justifies killing innocent people is obviously ignorant of what Islam actually teaches.

In this both Mr Fang and the terrorists have something in common


Source: Faris Abdat

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