The Principle of Tolerance in Islam
The Prophet Mohammad (SAW) has established brotherhood, equality, and human rights among the people. He not only established the rights of Muslims through the Medina Charter but also guaranteed the civil rights of people of all tribes and religions. The Medina Charter remains one of Muslims and non-Muslims’ best documents.
To date, no religion or philosophy has shown the least trace of the rights granted to non-Muslims by the Prophet (SAW) in the Islamic country. The Prophet (SAW) was the only person who guaranteed the rights of the non-Muslim minority through social, religious, and state laws.
In an Islamic country, non-Muslims have the same rights as Muslims and have equal responsibilities, although religion, creed, and belief are completely different.
Religious rights of non-Muslims
Islam introduced by the Prophet (SAW) is a balanced and complete way of life. It is a universal way of life. Islam has given everyone the right to freedom of expression and religion. Just as Islam does not support the practice of forcing anyone to convert to Islam, so Islam does not support the adoption of other religions. People may or may not accept this religion if they want to. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah says, “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (Surat al-Baqarah [verse 256])
The Prophet (SAW) was a firm believer in the religious freedom of the people. Concerning the rights of minorities, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Whosoever persecuted a Dhimmi or took work from him beyond his capacity, or took something from him with evil intentions. I shall be a complainant against him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Dawud and Al-Bayhaqi).
Social rights of non-Muslims
Minorities in Islamic society enjoy the same social rights as Muslims. There is no opportunity to discriminate against them in society. Islam is determined to fully establish the social rights of minorities in society. Allah (SWT) has instructed us to treat non-Muslims fairly. Allah says, “There has certainly been for you in them an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day. And whoever turns away – then indeed, Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.” (Surat al-Mumtahanah [verse 6])
The Islamic country is always careful so that the security of life and property of non-Muslim minorities is not affected. The Islamic country established in Medina has the following responsibility towards minorities: a. Protect non-Muslims from the enemy, b. Donation of security of their wealth and life, c. Do not collect usury from them, d. Not conducting operations in their area, and E. Protect their places of worship.
There is no alternative to achieve harmony and coexistence among the citizens can be found to follow the direction and approach guided by the Prophet (SAW). May Allah (SWT) grant us the grace to walk in the right path.