Contributions in the History of Human Tolerance
The ancient civilizations experienced endeavors and particular previsions to promote tolerance. Especially, the Greek civilization through intellectuals such as Plato and Socrates who endorsed the acceptance of others in the framework of searching for truth. Monotheistic religions as well, have established tolerance throughout the ages via prophets proselytized for love, forgiveness, rapport, and amicability between humankind as a whole.
Similarly, the early Arabs assumed tolerance known through their poetry rampant with loyalty, acceptance, and peace, regardless of religion. The poet and peace promoter, Zuhair Ibn Abi Sulma was a good example in this regard. Moreover, the Arabs formed Hilf al Fudul (League of the Virtuous) as a human defense against injustice even before Islam, which endorsed it as a charter for justice and social collaboration.
The revealed message of Islam principally came for human unity and coexistence upheld through mutual respect of culture and belief. Thus, the Prophet’s biography reflected the practical aspect of tolerance embodied in the Charter of Medina taken as a prime constitution in the Prophet’s era. The agreement not only organized coexistence, but also brought to life actual citizenship amongst groups of different religions and ethnicities.
Accordingly, Muslim intelligentsias vastly contributed to the intellectual output pertinent to tolerance through their theories and writings. Notably, al Mawardi, who did his treatise on the moral aspect of tolerance associated with gallantry.
Following the sixteenth century, Europe recognized the humanitarian virtue of tolerance through some philosophers such as Voltaire, John Locke, and Montesquieu, etc. Whose works had strong effect in promoting tolerance; especially Voltaire, who called upon Christians to fraternize with all people regardless of religions.
Constitutions and international charters can act as additional current contributions to human tolerance against racial discrimination. Especially the declaration of principles on tolerance adopted by the UNESCO in 1995, as to set 16th Nov. as an international day for tolerance. Which texts ‘Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human’.
No doubt, tolerance has become an absolute necessity for multicultural and multireligious societies.