Milestones of Tolerance in Islamic History

Dr. Mohammed Chemat, 2021
There are firm marks of tolerance in Islamic and humanitarian history.

There are firm marks of tolerance in Islamic and humanitarian history out of admission that people are innately different in terms of appearance, situation, language, behavior and values. Therefore, it is only right that they get respect with regard to their humanity and harmonious coexistence.  As tolerance is not only a matter of attitude, but also practice and commitment toward sublime humanitarian and behavioral outlooks. Of the significant examples of tolerance in human history, was the Roman Edict of Milano in Italy (313 AD). Which, historians call the Christian Edict of Toleration, that guaranteed the freedom of religious practice and renunciation of violence and hate speech. Similarly, the history of the Islamic heritage is full of firm stands detailing Muslim tolerance towards other peoples in terms of theory and practice in conjunction with the value presented in Islam as God says ‘…and counter evil with good. These have deserved the best abode’. Al Ra’ad: 22. Moreover, the biography of the Prophet (PBUH) is rampant with practical examples of tolerance that has become a feature of the Islamic civilization. The Prophet’s account with Quraysh people whom he forgave and set free during the conquest of Makkah despite the wrong that they had done him. Such is the exemplary Prophetic tolerance from which people can learn how to forgive. Another example of Muslim social tolerance was shown to the Christian delegation of Najran. Whom the Prophet received in his mosque, allowed them to pray therein, negotiated with them with open mind and liberal heart with no impulsion as to embrace Islam against their freewill. The successive era of the Prophet’s companions sustained the same fraternal spirit related to tolerance with non-Muslims. Correspondingly, in the 18th century of Enlightenment, the intellectuals called for non-subjugation out of tolerance, as the absolute truth was exclusive to no one. Which necessitated belief in difference and communication between people in the framework of acceptance of the other. Thus, the value of tolerance throughout the Islamic history has stemmed out of sound humanitarian instinct that the more it tends to tolerance, the stronger relation with others grows.

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