Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Quran Quotes: Islam forbids insulting other religions around the globe

It is normal in present Islam phobia dominated media houses where Muslim terrorists and extremists have dominated the headlines, and where coverage of Muslims' demonstrations usually portray a group of highly emotional people burning flags of other countries or chanting "death to..." slogans-- it is difficult to know what are the Islamic teachings pertinent to each issue.

Quran Quotes: Islam forbids insulting other religions

I would like to draw attention to the distinction between Muslims' actions and Islamic teachings. Islamic teachings are to be found in the Quran, or the statements and actions of Prophet Muhammad, where there is no ambiguity between permissible and not permissible. Yet we often see cases where these unambiguous teachings are ignored by Muslims. The reason for this is that those Muslims either are ignorant of the relevant Islamic teachings or their political ambitions blind them to the clarity of those teachings.

A clear instruction in terms of how to relate to others who follow a different religion or who worship different gods is presented in Chapter 109 of the Quran. 

"Say: O you that reject faith! I do not worship that which you worship, nor will you worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which you have been wont to worship, nor will you worship that which I worship. To you be your Way (or religion) and to me mine." (Quran 109:1-6) 

The message contained in these verses that were revealed during the earliest days of Islam constitutes the fundamental approach of Islam to diversity of religious beliefs. It should be noted that the immediate audience for this verse were the idol-worshipped of Mecca.

The respectful treatment of other religions and their scriptures has its roots in the Islamic belief system. Among the six principles that form the belief system in Islam, two of them are belief in (and respect for) the 124,000 prophets sent by God, as well as belief in (and respect for) the scriptures of Jews and Christians. This is why despite the attacks launched by some Muslim fanatics in Pakistan against Christian churches, nobody has dared to show disrespect to the Bible, and despite many years of bloody confrontations between Muslims and Jews no Muslim has ever burnt a copy of the Torah or exhibited a sign of disrespect for it.

Respect for the followers of other religions is not limited to the Jews and Christians but is extended to the followers of all religions, and the Quran forbids Muslims from insulting the belief's of other people.

Islam teaches its followers to not lose sight of these teachings even during times of war, when emotions run high and take control of logic and consciousness. So the rules of war in Islam forbid Muslims from destroying the places of worship of their foes. This goes hand in hand with the principle of treating everyone with justice even during the war. 

"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for God, as witness to fair dealings and do not let the hatred of a people lead you to treat them unjustly. Deal with them justly; it is closer to piety." (Quran 5:8) 

Respect for the dignity of human beings leads Islam to put an end to fighting as soon as the enemy declare peace: 

"...therefore if they withdraw from you but do not fight you, and (instead) send you (guarantees) of peace, then God has opened no way for you (to wage war against them)." (Quran 4:90)

When we study the life of Muhammad we realize that he did not torture prisoners, did not take hostages, did not order suicide attacks, did not attack civilians, and did not insult the religious symbols of other religions, with only one exception. The only exception was in the case of the conquest of Mecca. When Muhammad conquered Mecca in 630 CE without a drop of blood being shed, he went to the Kaba and destroyed all the idols that were placed there by idol-worshippers. This incident that was used by the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan to justify the destruction of three ancient Buddha statues had particular circumstances that can not be generalized. 

The Kaba was not originally built by the idol-worshippers but by Adam (p. b.u.h.) as the place dedicated to the worship of God. Rebuilt be Abraham (p. b.u.h.), the Kaba be associated with the worship of One God. It was at a much later time that idols were placed there and gradually the Kaba was transformed to be a centre for worshipping idols. So what Muhammad did was to return the Kaba to its original condition by removing the idols from it. Furthermore, the idols placed in Kaba were not relevant any more since the overwhelming majority of Meccans had already rejected them by embracing Islam.

Quran Quotes: Teach Love, Tolerance and Freedom of Religion

Islam according to the Quran teaches love and compassion for every human being, no matter their religion, says author Adnan Oktar whose television show is watched by millions in Turkey and the Arab world. He believes the problem for the majority of Muslims is that some groups are following traditions and superstitions invented centuries after the Quran was first sent and the Prophet lived, and these have gotten more radical over time.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Oktar published a book, Islam Denounces Terrorism. He argues that violent and intolerant beliefs about Islam go against the teachings of the Quran. Here, he presents six quotes that support his claim.

1) Peace is the cornerstone

The word “Islam” is derived from the word meaning “peace” in Arabic. Islam is a religion revealed to mankind with the intention of presenting a peaceful life where the infinite compassion and mercy of God manifests on earth. God calls all people to live by the moral values He sets so that compassion, mercy, peace and love can be experienced all over the world.

“O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of satan. He is an outright enemy to you.” (Holy Quran: 2, 208)

In the verse above, Islam intrinsically calls for peace and fosters a life in absolute sincerity and honesty before God. Therefore it is vitally important for an individual to believe in God with his own will and aspiration, and observe God’s commands and advice through personal conscientious contentment.

2) No one should be forced to believe in Islam

“There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned.” (Holy Quran: 2/ 256)

As stated in the verse, no one can be compelled to live by Islamic morals. Conveying the existence of God and the morals of the Qur’an to other people is a duty for believers, but they call people to the path of God with kindness and love and they never force them. It is only God Who guides people to the right way. This is related in the following verse:

“You cannot guide those you would like to but God guides those He wills. He has best knowledge of the guided.” (Holy Quran/28: 56)

3) Freedom of thought and religion are paramount

The Quran provides an environment where people can fully enjoy freedom of thought and freedom of religion and allows people to live by the faith and values they believe in. According to Islam, everyone has the right to live freely by his beliefs, whatever they may be. Anyone who wants to support a church, a synagogue or a mosque must be free to do so. In this sense, freedom of religion, or freedom of belief, is one of the basic tenets of Islam. There is always freedom of religion wherever the moral values of the Qur’an prevail.
That is why Muslims also treat Jews and Christians, described in the Qur’an as “the People of the Book,” with great justice, love and compassion. God says in the Qur’an:

“God does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you in the religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them. God loves those who are just.” (Surat al-Mumtahana, 8)

4) Compete with each other in doing good

Muslims who share these basic values believe in the need to act together with Christians and Jews. They therefore strive to eliminate prejudices stemming from provocations by unbelievers and fanatics. Jews, Christians and Muslims should strive together to spread moral virtues across the world.

God explicitly states that the existence of people from different faiths  and opinions is something that we have to acknowledge and welcome heartily, for this is how He created and predestined humankind in this world:

“We have appointed a law and a practice for every one of you. Had God willed, He would have made you a single community, but He wanted to test you regarding what has come to you. So compete with each other in doing good. Every one of you will return to God and He will inform you regarding the things about which you differed.” (Surat al-Ma’ida, 48)

In acknowledgment of this fact, Muslims have an inner love and compassion for people of all faiths, races and nations, for they consider them as the manifestations of God in this world and treat them with an heartfelt respect and love. This is the very basis of communities administered by Islamic morality.

The values of the Qur’an hold a Muslim responsible for treating all people, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, kindly and justly, protecting the needy and the innocent and “preventing the dissemination of mischief”. Mischief comprises all forms of anarchy and terror that remove security, comfort and peace.

“God does not love corruption”. (Surat al-Baqara, 205)