Allah vs Other Gods: Tolerance in Islam

Many Muslims writers argue ad nauseum about the “Peaceful and Universal Nature of Islam”. Here is another one in Dawn (a Pakistani newspaper). Read the article carefully. Here are some inherently contradictory verses that the author shares that I would like to make comments on.

Islam has universality as it recognises and respects all prophets and messengers who came before Prophet Muhammad: “And Allah has ordained for you… which He ordained Nuh (Noah) and that which We… ordained for Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus) saying you should establish religion…” (42:13).

And what about the “prophets” who came after Muhammad? What about Guru Nanak? Or Buddha? or Sai Baba? So, basically, its the Ford Paradigm of Freedom – “You can buy any car as long as it is black”

Islam not only supports but in fact heralds freedom of thought and religion. It has been laid down very clearly in the Quran that Islamic faith shall not be imposed on those who are reluctant or not willing to adopt the same: “There is no compulsion in religion.” (2: 256) “…Your duty (O Muhammad) is only to convey the message in a clear way.” (16:82) “Had Allah willed, they would not have taken others besides Him in worship.” (6:107).

Of course the author does not share the many disgraceful punishments and hellish scenarios that have been ordained for the non-believers. Oh, and the clear benefit that one would get if one can bring others into this fold. The last verse from 6:107 could only be made by someone who had no idea about the true nature of God/Allah. God or whatever name you may want to call him with is nothing more than a representation of the basic primordial energy that pervades everything. There is.. .indeed can be only ONE such entity.. so what in the world does “taken others besides Him in worship” – this essentially says to me that whoever made such a statement implicitly admitted that this “Allah” is NOT the ONLY ONE. There are many other entities that pervade this creation besides “Him”. Hmmm.. so it does become a clear and foremost a game of “My Allah” vs “Yours”.. isnt it? If that be so.. what then is the motivation for a believer to not fight the non-believers (or believers of other Gods). Quite simply, the more the believers have in their fold, the more the possibility that believers will “win” in this battle of “My God vs theirs”!

Muslims have been instructed to deal with non-Muslims in a just and kind manner: “Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of your religion… it is only… those who fought against you on account of religion… Allah forbids you to befriend them…” (60: 8,9).

I am not quite sure of others but this one simply insults my intelligence!! Its like me telling my child – I do not forbid you from being good to your friends. Ah yes, my kid, but those who are different – and so you do not get along with them.. I forbid you to be good to them! Everyone is supposed to be good to his/her kin.. it is those who can pardon and love their enemies or even those who hurt you (those who believe something else is very trivial but even that benchmark fails here in this verse) are the real Enlightened Ones!

In India, Muslim rulers would make generous and regular donations to the temples and sacred places of Hindus and other non-Muslims. Thus it can be said with conviction that Islam is indeed a religion which endorses harmonious interaction and tolerance coupled with religious freedom between Muslims and non-Muslims: “O Mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you know one another.” (49:13).

Again, only a Pakistani – to whom Aurangzeb and his forefathers have been eulogized in books – can make such a statement. All you need to know about the “magnanimity of the Muslim rulers in India is to read unvarnished Sikh History and the conclusions will be unescapable! And now to the verse: Every dervish or sufi or Guru that I have read or heard of has talked about how it is imperative to remove the very distinctions that exist so that the One can be experienced. To bring that One about, it is imperative that every difference be understood to be an absolute farce and an illusion. If we keep on heaping distinction upon distinction… differences upon differences between the various elements of this creation and us.. then that realization is impossible. Like Jesus said “The Kingdom of Heaven is within You”. This “You” is the entire creation. The King is in everyone. Because The King is Everything!!

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