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Religious freedom and Islamic value of Justice and tolerance

 

   Part One: Freedom of Religion in Islam

Chapter 5: Religious freedom and Islamic value of Justice and tolerance

 (1) Between Islamic justice and forgiveness

 

The term (Justice) has in Arabic languages two words: (Al Adl) and (Al Qist). The two words are equal in giving the meaning of (Justice). (Justice) as (Qist) comes in this verse (” We sent aforetime our messengers with Clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that men may stand forth in justice; “(57/ 25).It confirms that the aim of the holy messages came from God is to establish justice in this earth.

Justice as Arabic word (Al Adl) comes in this verse “Lo! Allah enjoineth justice (Al Adl) and forgiveness (Ihsan)).

Arabic Quranic term (Ihsan) sometimes comes in the Quran linked to justice, as it is mentioned in That verse :(16 / 90 ). But the term (Ihsan) is usually misunderstood in Arabic tradition. It is usually understood as giving charity or doing the good deeds. This has influenced the translators of the Quran. For example in YUSUFALI translation: (Allah commands justice, the doing of good) and in PICKTHAL’s (Lo! Allah enjoineth justice and kindness), and in SHAKIR’s ( Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) ( 16 / 90 ).

To know the real pure Islam, you have to read Quran according to its unique terminology. Accordingly, the Quranic term (Ihsan) means a degree which is higher than justice. It is forgiveness. The Quranic verses usually explain each other. For example verse 90 in chapter 16 is explained by verse 40 in chapter 42. It says “The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah” (42 / 40). So, justice is: (The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto in degree). But (Ihsan) is forgiveness and reconciliation. Let’s explain it: Suppose, you slap me for no reason, according to justice I have the right to slap you back, but to be in a state of (Ihsan) or forgiveness I should forgive you.

Forgiveness (Ihsan) in the Quran has two degrees: the good Ihsan and the best Ihsan. Suppose you slapped me for no reason, and I said to you:” Thank you, I forgive you”. This is the good Ihsan, or the good forgiveness. But when I said “Thank you, God bless you, I forgive you” and I give you money, this is the best Ihsan. According to the Quran, you find the good Ihsan in this verse: (These will be given their reward twice over, because they are steadfast and repel evil with good,) (Ch. 28 /Vrs 54), while the best degree is in these verses:  (Repel (Evil) with what is the best) (Ch.41 /Vrs. 34) (Repel evil with that which is best: We are well acquainted with the things they say) (23 / 96).

Those verses were revealed in Mecca along with other tens of verses when the early Muslims in the time of the Prophet Mohamed were persecuted by the mighty Arabic Tribe Qureish. God ordered them to maintain justice and forgiveness. It is the same orders for any believer under persecution.

2- Infidel, unbeliever, disbeliever are judged by humans according to their criminal religious behavior, not their faith

 

The real Muslim has to deal with all people according to justice and forgiveness. Once he transgresses the limit he will be no longer Muslim because Islam is built also on peace.

Islam means to submit oneself to One God – in faith – or in dealing with Him- and to be peaceful in behavior, or in dealing with people. God alone is the only one who has the power to judge our belief. The society in this world has the right to judge the individuals regarding the relationship among them. So, any peaceful one is Muslim regardless of his belief, and any honest, safe, and faithful person is a believer regardless of his/her inner faith.

On the other hand, anyone who transgresses the limits, wrongs others, or attacks and terrifies them in the name of religion, is an unbeliever or an infidel regardless of any religion or title he claims.
The Quranic language has many descriptions for infidels and disbelievers to characterize them regardless of time or any religion they claim. It’s up to the One God alone to judge their inner belief, but it is left to us as human beings to recognize them according to their transgression.

In criminal law, we can define the criminal according to his criminal behavior.

In the Quran, ( Kafer / Moshrik ) or infidels, disbelievers and idol worshipper in behavior is the one who use the religion or the name of God in persecuting people, killing them, steeling their money, their human rights and their religious freedom.

All these crimes are against justice. So, the term

( Kafer / Moshrik) has additional synonym descriptions to confirm his criminal deeds.

3-‘Al Zolm’ is against justice

 

‘Al Zolm’ is the first description of the act of being an infidel or a disbeliever. It’s an Arabic term which means to do wrong, to commit outrage, to tyrannize, to be unfair, unjust, to oppress, or to attack innocent people. This term is repeated in the Quran about 300 times as it is the main aspect of the disbelief and infidelity. For example, see: (2:254) (31:13) and: (2: 165) (4: 75 & 168) (6: 45) (10:13 &52) (11: 37& 67& &94& 102 & 116) (14: 44 & 45) (21:13) (29: 49)
The unbeliever chooses to wrong the One and Only God by adding partners to Him, but God is the only one who will judge him/her concerning the realm of faith and religion. If this unbeliever lives peacefully, he is a believer according to our limits in this life as we are concerned about living in peace, safety, and justice in terms of dealing with each other.


Every one believes that their faith is the real truth, so it’s against pure justice to judge each other in faith and belief. It’s a pure justice to leave this to God Himself to judge us as we all have different faiths concerning Him. So He is the only one who will tell us the real truth on the Day of Truth; see: (2:113) (3:55) (10:93) (16:124) (5:48) (39:3, 7, 46). Our concern should only be to live peacefully and justly and not to allow anyone to violate this peace in the name of God while he/she is wronging God and disobeying His commandments. It’s the most outrageous deed to disobey God and proclaim himself a person of God by killing people in His name.

This is an example of the Quranic Islamic culture contradicted by the early Middle Ages. A much greater contradiction was the culture of the Arabian Peninsula, where the Arab tribes used to live in continuous bloodshed, glorifying raiding each other, as a sign of honor and courage. Those Arab tribal incursions meant killing men of other tribes and enslaving their women and children, thus giving the other tribe the right to retaliate. This bloody culture was faced by Islam and its peaceful nature.

The Arabic Quranic language made (Al Zolm) one aspect of disbelief in the One God. The Quran discusses Al Zolm about two hundred times, making it a sign of infidelity and disbelief. In the Quranic context, another Arabic Quranic word ‘transgression’ is given the same meaning, and used in the same context regarding the unbelievers and infidels. Twice in the Quran, God says, “… and transgress not. Verily God loves not the transgressors.” This is mentioned in (2:190) to refer to the rules of fighting, and in (5:87) to confirm the absolute right of God alone in revealing Divine legislation. This was a serious warning to the believers not to prohibit the good things that God has permitted.

God mentioned two kinds of aggressions, one of them is being committed by infidels against peaceful people. Regarding them, God says, “It’s they who are the transgressors.” (9:10) [Read also: (50:25), (68:12), and (83:12).] The other kind of aggression is committed against God, His revelation and His legislation. [See: (4:154), (7:163), (2:229), (4:14), (65:1), (5:87, 94), and (23:7)].   It’s up to God alone to judge those who violate His image, His revelation and legislation. But it’s the responsibility of society to stand firm against those who violate human rights, especially religious freedom.

(4) “Al Sabr” (Tolerance or Patience) as an Islamic value to respond to “Al Zolm).

To face zolm and oppression, God ordered Muslims to be patient. Patience or a-ssabr is a Quranic term mentioned in the Holy book about one hundred times and is a great Islamic value meaning forgiveness, tolerance, forbearance, perseverance and endurance.  Muslims have to uphold a-ssabr all throughout their lives, seeking to please the Almighty Lord in every stance of life. One has to be sabir in forgiving those who insult him/her, and to be sabir if he/she has to fight to defend his/her life or freedom of belief. It’s a positive Islamic value meant to protect peace and to confirm tolerance and forgiveness. It is the middle ground between being totally passive as was the case of the peaceful, early Muslims, and the others who were active in aggression and transgression.

For more details:

1-Prophet Mohamed was ordered to maintain the value of (Sabr), or to tolerate the persecution : (Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have disputations with them in the best manner; surely your Lord best knows those who go astray from His path, and He knows best those who follow the right way. And if you take your turn, then retaliate with the like of that with which you were afflicted; but if you are patient, it will certainly be best for those who are patient. And be patient and your patience is not but by (the assistance of) Allah, and grieve not for them, and do not distress yourself at what they plan. Surely Allah is with those who keep righteousness and those who are doers of good).( 16 : 125/ 128  ).  

Here the value of (Sabr) is accompanied with forgiveness and positive advocate for truth. It is the same order for all Muslims:  (And who speaks better than he who calls to Allah while he himself does good, and says: I am surely of those submitters (Muslims)? And not alike, are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best, when lo! he, between whom and you was enmity, would be as if he were a warm friend. And none are made to receive it(Reward in Paradise) but those who maintain patience and none are made to receive it but those who have a mighty good manner.) (41: 33/ 35).

2-(Sabr ) is necessary for believers in the time of persecution,  they escape persecution and immigrate for the sake of their religious freedom; God says : (To those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, after suffering oppression,- We will assuredly give a goodly home in this world; but truly the reward of the Hereafter will be greater. If they only realized (this)! (They are) those who persevere in patience, and put their trust on their Lord. )( 16 : 41/42)

3-( Sabr) is necessary when you fight the Islamic Jihad ( to defend not to start war). (Did ye think that ye would enter Paradise without Allah testing those of you who fought hard (In His Cause) and remained patient?)( 3 : 142 )

4-In all cases, the real Muslim society has its people advice each other to maintain patience and uphold truth and justice. God says: (I swear by the time. Most surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth/ justice, and enjoin on each other patience ):Chapter 103) 

5- The terrorist is the worst criminal.

 

Some unbelievers possess the two kinds of transgression, one of them being killing innocent people in the name of God. The Sunni and Shiites terrorists of our time are clear example of this case. It’s imperative to face them from inside Islam to prove the contradiction between their behavior and the true teachings of Islam and its jurisprudence. The simple criminal kills one person or few people without any religious justification, but the other criminal kills thousands of innocent people believing it’s his/her religious duty to kill those who have different religious beliefs. In this case, the terrorist does not kill the person, but also the real values of the Divine religion. In these circumstances, the killer is not the only criminal; it is also the scholars and religious authorities who preach such bloody culture as religious teachings deceiving ordinary Muslims to be terrorists in the name of Islam. Those liar scholars are the real criminals.


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