“Islam Resists Fanaticis and Isolation”
Al-Azhar Magazine – January 1970
The chief object of true religion should be the elevation of humanity towards that perfection which is the ultimate purpose of the creation of man. The religion of ‘Islam’ has a distinctive appellation; it is not derived from the name of its not derived from the name of its preacher. But the word ‘Islam’ means to surrender, admit or yield. The noun-salam or salamath derived from it means peace, safety, salvation and greeting in order that the religion of Islam is characterized in the ‘absolute submission to the Will of God.’ It regulates the course of human life according to the true nature (Fitrat) in which God has created man, as the Holy Quran says:
فَأَقِمۡ وَجۡهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفً۬اۚفِطۡرَتَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّتِى فَطَرَ ٱلنَّاسَ عَلَيۡہَاۚ لَاتَبۡدِيلَ لِخَلۡقِ ٱللَّهِۚ ذَٲلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُون) ٣٠ – الرُّوم(
It means: “So set thy supreme for religion as a man by nature (framed) of Allah in which He has created man. There is no altering (the law of) Allah’s creation. That is the right religion. But most men know not.” (30:30)
Islam tries to attain the object of perfection by grasping three principles:
- – The belief in the Oneness of God, in His Mercy, Love and His Sustainment.
- – The present life is the seed ground of the Future Life.
- – Everybody will be judged by his work alone.
The belief in these principles leads out the man to self humiliation, self denial, and universal charity. Out of this belief he will endeavor with honesty, sincerity and devotion, to implement the teachings of his Lord in all the sphere of his every day, individual and social life.
The Holy Quran and the teachings of the Prophet laid down the following principles and rules to regulate relations between individuals and communities: Human dignity, human brotherhood, freedom, justice, equality, and humanity.
The Holy Quran declares the common parentage of mankind, despite their differences in color, tongue, tribes, races, and faiths. They emanate from one origin, and share the same end. The Holy Quran says:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ ٱتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفۡس وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنۡہَا زَوۡجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنۡہُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرً۬اوَنِسَآءً۬ۚ) ١ -النِّسَاء(
It means: “O mankind! Keep your duty unto your Lord. Who created you form a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain Has spread a multitude of men and women.” (4:1)
This same idea was explained by the Prophet: “you are all Adam’s offspring, and Adam is of earth”. Islam, through its principles and teachings, fosters dignity and self respect in the hearts if its followers and educates them to respect dignity and honor of others. This honor is due for their humanity and good conduct and not because of their social status, race or color. It is a Common Privilege for all people. The Quran refers to this privilege as follows:
وَلَقَدۡ كَرَّمۡنَا بَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ وَحَمَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِ وَرَزَقۡنَـٰهُم مِّنَ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ( ٧٠ – الإسرَاء)
It means: “Verily We have honored the children of Adam and We carry them on the land, the sea and have made provision of good things for them…” (17:70)
Islam recommended ‘the general human brotherhood’ as means if conduct anmong peoples of different religions, lands and races. It is, therefore, recognized human cooperation as the spring of world understanding and the promotion of love and enmity among people. The Quran declares addressing to all mankind, the principle of human brotherhood and human relation in the following verses:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقۡنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ۬ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ شُعُوبً۬ا وَقَبَآٮِٕلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓاْۚ إِنَّ أَڪۡرَمَكُمۡ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتۡقَٮٰكُمۡۚ” ) ١٣ -الحجرات)
It means: “O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you in the Sight of Allah the best in conduct.”
وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى ٱلۡبِرِّ وَٱلتَّقۡوَىٰۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى ٱلۡإِثۡمِ وَٱلۡعُدۡوَٲنِ( ٢ -المَائدة(
It means: “Help you one another unto righteousness and pious duty. Help not one another unto sin and transgression.” (5:2)
And: “Lo! Allah enjoins justice and Kindness.”
The Holy Quran has totally prohibited any kinds of compulsion as means of driving people to embrace a certain religion, faith or doctrine. It declared: “There should be no compulsion in religion”. It has also strictly forbidden any interference in the affairs of non-Muslims and guaranteed their liberties in all walks of life. By the laws of Islam, Liberty of conscience and freedom of worship were allowed and guaranteed to the followers of every other creed under Muslim dominion. Islam regulated relations among peoples of different religions on the basis of justice and human equality; no matter whether such relations be with friendly or hostile people. The Quran says:
لَّا يَنۡهَٮٰكُمُ ٱللَّهُ عَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمۡ يُقَـٰتِلُوكُمۡ فِى ٱلدِّينِ وَلَمۡ يُخۡرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَـٰرِكُمۡ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمۡ وَتُقۡسِطُوٓاْ إِلَيۡہِمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُقۡسِطِينَ) ٨ -المُمتَحنَة(
It means: “Allah forbids you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes that you should show them kindness and deal justify with them. Lo! Allah loves the just dealers.” (60:8)
لَا يَجۡرِمَنَّڪُمۡ شَنَـَٔانُ قَوۡمٍ عَلَىٰٓ أَلَّا تَعۡدِلُواْۚ ٱعۡدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقۡرَبُ لِلتَّقۡوَىٰۖ)٨ -المَائدة(
It means: “Let not hatred of any people seduce you that deal not justify. Do justice that is nearer to your duty (towards Allah).” (5:8)
Among the causes of human miseries in our contemporary age is fanaticism and intolerance, in the human treatment and understanding. To make distinction between people, in humanitarian affairs according to their faith, color, or race, is the real cause of crisis on this earth. There could be no stability and peace in this world without respect for human dignity in every man and on every land. This principle applies to communities and state in the same way it applies to individuals. Because what an individual is required to do is also expected from a community as represented in the state.
The Holy Quran calls the believers to work for communal amity and harmony, and to sweep away all artificial differences and factions. At the time of the Prophet Muhammed’s advent international obligations were unknown. When nations and tribes mad war upon each other; the result usually was the massacre of the able people and the slavery of the innocent. In a comparative rude age, when the world was immersed in darkness, moral and social, the Prophet preached those principles of human equality, social justice and common brotherhood.
The able writer of Europe ‘Hallam’ compared those principles of tolerance and equality preached by the Prophet of Islam with the records of any religion, and said: “Islam offered its religion, but never enforced it; and the acceptance of that religion conferred co-equal rights with the conquering body, and emancipated the vanquished states from the conditions which every conqueror, since the world existed up to the period of Muhammed had invariably imposed.” This is the opinion of the learned author of ‘Hist. of England’, regarding the percepts of a Prophet who has been accused of fanaticism and intolerance!”
Let it be remembered that the various conflicts of the Muslims, during the life time of Prophet Muhammed, with the surrounding tribes were occasioned by the aggressive and determined hostility of the Jews or idolaters, and were necessary for self defense. Through those principles Islam aims at establishing unity and brotherhood in humankind, and rejecting all kinds of fanaticism and isolation.