The Humanitarian Meanings of Tolerance
Tolerance is a system rich with noble humanitarian concepts, historically deeply rooted in Arabic, Islamic and openhearted thinking promoted by all faiths, and accentuated by bright human thought. In order to build a solid, harmonious, and amicable society based on inclusive goodness regardless of human colour, gender or belief. In this regard, the Holy Qur’an is full of verses promoting tolerance, forgiving and justice for all, including the right of expression and non-discrimination. Of the significant humanitarian meanings of tolerance, is the acquaintance necessary for cooperation as provided for in the Qur’anic verse ‘O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another’. As the natural universal difference between people’s race, language and beliefs is in itself a motive for knowing each other and doing good to one another. Which in consequence brings happiness and makes life a lot easier if reached through serious and continuous dialogue between acquaintances in the framework of the verse ‘and speak kindly to mankind’. Thus, Islam establishes the culture of human dialogue based on communication to reach out for others and treat followers of all faiths well. God says, ‘Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you’; as enjoined through ‘Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way’. For with leniency, good deeds, and liberality of heart necessary good ground is created for understanding and interaction between peoples. Moreover, multiculturalism and acceptance of others are integral parts of humanitarian meanings of tolerance recognized by Islam. For instance, the community of Medina was a practical example of multireligious and multicultural diversity. Particularly after the Prophet (PBUH) moved therein to establish such a policy maintained throughout Muslim history. The humanitarian value of tolerance goes hand in hand with the principle of coexistence as a pattern of human conduct that cannot come to fruition without peace and mutual respect. As people are created from a ‘single being’, it is only natural that tolerance should be essential in their relation strengthened with justice, good dealing and compassion worthy of human dignity. In conclusion, associating tolerance with the said noble concepts now, will contribute to a peaceful future sustained with creativity and international communication.