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Tolerance in the Teaching of the Great Prophet (s) and in Liberalism: A Contrastive Analysis (Part 2)

Dec 30, 2011, 2:45 PM

2. Resoluteness in the Campaign against Wrongdoing and Announcement of Truth

Quran verse and Narrations indicate that in the proclamation of truth and struggle against wrongdoing, especially in the case that a wrongful act might become part of the public culture, one must not be flexible. A shining example of this is the Prophet’s (s) steadfast struggle against manifestations of unbelief and idolatry. When the polytheists of Mecca despaired at dissuading the Prophet because of his singular firmness of purpose, they proposed that each party assume flexibility and nonchalance regarding the religion of the other and abstain from attacking each other’s beliefs. The Holy Quran announced to the Prophet (s):

So do not obey deniers, who are eager that you should be pliable, so that they may be pliable [towards you] (68:8-9).

The polytheists Mecca asked the Prophet (s) to accompany them in worshipping their idols so that they would accompany the Prophet of Islam in worshipping Almighty God. In response, God revealed surah Kufirun where He declared to the Prophet:

Say, ‘O faithless ones! I do not worship what you worship, nor do you worship what I worship; nor will I worship what you have worshiped; nor will you worship what I worship. To you your religion and to me my religion.’(109:1-6)

Elsewhere, addressing the Prophet (s), the Quran has pronounced:

Had We not fortified you, certainly you might have inclined toward them a bit. Then We would have surely made you taste a double [punishment] in this life and a double [punishment] after death, and then you would have not found for yourself any helper against Us (17:74-75).

As well, He proclaims to the Prophet (s) and his companions:

There is certainly a good exemplar for you in Abraham and those who were with him, when they said to their own people, ‘Indeed we repudiate you are whatever you worship besides Allah. We disavow you, and between you and us there has appeared enmity and hate forever, unless you come to have faith in Allah alone’ (60:4).

The stories of Abraham and the Prophet of Islam regarding the breaking of idols are clear examples of the resoluteness of the prophets

In the Nahj al-Balaghah, is it written:

Only he upholds the command of God who does not make mutual concessions, does not conform [for conforming sake] and does not follow desires (Nah al-Balaghah, wisdom 11).

3. Resoluteness in Conveying Religious Teachings and Struggling against Distortion, Innovation, and Obscuration in the Religion

The crucial mission of religious scholars and leaders, who are in truth guards of the religious bounds, must brook not the least amount of flexibility or nonchalance with regard to safeguarding the reality of the religion and battling innovation, distortion, allegorical explanation, and false interpretations.

A Narration from the holy Prophet (s) cites:

When innovation appears in my ummah, it is responsibility cognizant and learned individuals to reveal their knowledge. If they do not, the damnation of God be upon them” (Kulayni, vol.1, p. 54).

Imam Sadiq (a) has declared:

Do not associate with innovators (Kulayni, vol. 1, p. 54).

It is cited of Imam Ali (a) that:

Whosoever goes to an innovator and shows them respect has surely endeavored to destroy Islam (Shaykh Saduq 1970, vol. 3, p. 572)

Regarding promoters of religion, the Quran states:

They are those who deliver the messages of Allah and fear Him, and fear no one except Allah (33:39)

Concerning this issue, Martyr Mutahhari has written:

There is a matter that I must explain-the matter of tolerance… Does the Quran reject it completely? I must answer that there are two different issues here. The first one the Quran rejects so completely that it does not even give prophets permission for its effectuation let alone others. This type is compromise in the area of policy and thought: that is, in modern terms, ideology. For instance, one might say: ‘You dispense with some of your beliefs and, reciprocally, we will forgo some of our beliefs.’ It is impossible for a righteous religion to allow such compromise with the enemy… No compromise is acceptable even in a minor recommended [mustahabb] or undesirable [makruh] atc much less an obligatory or forbidden act. Whatever is a part of divine revelation, even the slightest of recommended or undesirable actions, is uncompromisable. Indeed! There is, on the other hand, another issue in which compromise and forgiveness is tolerable. This issue relates to actions, not policies and ideology; it is a kind of tactic. For instance, one might decide to temporarily postpone or advance the execution of a particular action. The Quran has not taken this option away from the Prophet (Mutahhari, vol. 17, p. 247).

4. Resoluteness of the Government in Safeguarding the Right of the People, Establishing Justice, and Campaigning against Oppression

The Holy Quran introduces one of the most important aims of the appointment of messengers and the revelation of scripture to be establishing social justice and struggling against oppression (see: Hadid 57:25).

Imam ‘Ali (a) has declared that the most important reasons for which he accepted rule after 25 years of withdrawal were to establish justice, fight against oppression, and defend the oppressed (Nahj al-Balaghah, sermon 3). After he assumed the office of the caliphate, with singular resolve, he commanded that the wealth that had been wrongly given to various persons from the Muslim treasury [bayt al-mal] be retrieved and restored to the treasury (ibid, sermon 15).

His plan was to divide the public wealth equally among Muslims. In the face if the supposed well-wishers that advised the Imam against this measure, he announced:

Do you instruct me to seek victory for myself by oppressing those over whom I have become ruler? By God, for as long as I live and night and day endure and the stars rise set one after another, I will never do such a thing . If this wealth was my own personal property I would share it our equally let alone now that this wealth belongs to God and pertains to all people (ibid, sermon 126).

To be continued