By Adnan Adil
10 March 2017
THE Quran, the foundation of Islam, envisions
a society in which all people could freely express and practise their
respective faiths and where believers in Islam and non-believers live together.
The Quran does not preach coercion or eliminating non-believers.
The Quran gives the right of choice and
freedom of conscience to mankind. There are many verses in the Quran in which
God has reminded the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that his job is only to convey God’s
message to the people.
The Quran describes a pluralist world.
Surah al-Kafirun, Verse 6, asks the Prophet (PBUH) to say to the pagans of
Makkah: “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”
According to the Quran, each person is
responsible for his own beliefs and actions, and not of others.
God has desired diversity for mankind as is
evident in Verse 48 of Surah al-Maida: “To thee We sent the Scripture in truth,
confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so
judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain
desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you
have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have
made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given
you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it
is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.”
The Quran exhorts the fact that God has
given freedom to individuals in choosing their faith. Verse 149 of al-An’am
says: “Say: “With Allah is the argument that reaches home: if it had been His
will, He could indeed have guided you all.”
In the words of scholar Muhammad Asad, the
obvious implication of the verse is that God has willed it otherwise: namely,
that He has given man the freedom to choose between right and wrong, thus
raising him to the status of a moral being in distinction from other animals,
which can only follow their instincts.
The oft-quoted verse 256 of Surah
al-Baqarah, La Ikraha Fiddin, unequivocally supports the freedom of
religious belief in Islam. The verse reads: “Let there be no compulsion in
religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes
in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. …”
Through this example, it has been
established that Islam does not approve of forced conversion.
At several places in the Quran, God asks
the Prophet (PBUH) to restrict himself to conveying the divine message and not
to worry about those who dismiss Islam. In Surah al-Ghashiyah, Verses 21 and 22
state: “Therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish. Thou
art not one to manage (men’s) affairs.”
Similar words appear in four other places
in the Quran, namely, Verse 40 of Surah al-Raad, Verse 12 of Surah Hud, Verse
188 of Surah al-A’raf and Verse 45 of Surah Qaf.
According to the Quran, each person is
responsible for his own beliefs and actions, and not of others. In Surah Yunus,
Verse 41, God says: “If they charge thee with falsehood, say: “My work to me,
and yours to you! Ye are free from responsibility for what I do, and I for what
Surah al-Nisa’s Verse 84 makes the same
assertion: “Then fight in Allah’s cause — Thou art held responsible only for
Every individual is free to live a life
based on his own choices and decisions. In Surah al-Imran, Verse 20, God says
to the Prophet (PBUH): “So if they dispute with thee, say: “I have submitted My
whole self to Allah and so have those who follow me.” And say to the People of
the Book and to those who are unlearned: “Do ye (also) submit yourselves?” If
they do, they are in right guidance, but if they turn back, Thy duty is to
convey the Message; and in Allah’s sight are (all) His servants.”
The Quran teaches us that it is only upon
God to guide a man to the righteous path. In Surah al-Qasas, Verse 56, God
says: “It is true thou wilt not be able to guide every one, whom thou lovest;
but Allah guides those whom He will and He knows best those who receive
The same point has been reiterated in Surah
al-Najam’s Verse 29 and Surah al-Baqarah’s Verse 272.
It is quite evident from the Quran that
Islam has a pluralist vision with a variety of faiths coexisting with each
Adnan Adil is a freelance contributor.