Tolerance in Islam | Quranic Verses and Ahadith on Tolerance

The literal meaning of Tolerance is “to bear.” Tolerance is a basic principle of Islam. It is a religious and moral duty. It does not mean compromise. It does not mean lack of principles or lack of seriousness about one’s principles. It means accepting the fact that human beings, naturally distinct in their appearance, situation, speech, behavior, and values, have the right to live in peace and to be as they are. It also means that one’s views are not to be imposed on others. We have to tolerate others according to their point of view we can’t just impose our point of view on others.

Islam is the religion of mercy and kindness, the religion of tolerance and ease. Faith/Belief is from the first of the 5 pillars upon which Islam is based, they also consist of more than seventy branches (i.e. parts) and one of these parts is, “Tolerance”. The Quran speaks about the basic dignity of all human beings. The Prophet (SAW) spoke about the equality of all human beings, regardless of their race, color, language or traditional background.

Quranic Verses on Tolerance

Clear elicitation of tolerance is expressed from the verse of Quran for the Muslims that is: “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” (Quran 109: 6).  We can’t force others to accept our point of view and religion or faith. As In Holy Quran Allah Almighty said: “There is no compulsion in religion…” (Quran 2:256).

In Quran it is clearly stated that no compulsion is upon any other faith-bearing person: “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.” (Quran 2:256)

The religion of Islam revolves around hope and fear of the one and only creator, so the believer is one who has hope and fear.  In Holy Quran, Allah Almighty says: “Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on us in hope and in fear” (Quran, 21: 90). From this verse, we can conclude that believer is the one who has hope and fear and these make believer to be tolerant or makes believer have tolerance.

Islam teaches tolerance on all levels: individual, groups, and states. Tolerance is the structure that upholds human rights, cultural diversity and the rule of law. Allah says in the Holy Quran very clearly: “To every People have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow, let them not then dispute with you on the matter, but do invite (them) to your Lord: for you are assuredly on the Right Way. If they do wrangle with you, say, ‘God knows best what it is you are doing. “God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning the matters in which you differ.'” (Quran, Al-Hajj: 76-69).

So we see that the verses mentioned above give prohibition not to suppress people, present the message to them in a decent and clear way, invite them to the truth and do your best in presenting and conveying the message of Allah to humanity, while it is totally up to them to accept or to reject it. We can’t simply impose anything on them.

Islam may tolerate anything but it teaches zero tolerance for injustice, oppression, and violation of the rights of other human beings. Allah says in Holy Quran: “And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated? Men, women, and children, whose cry is: ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors, and raise for us from your side one who will protect, and raise for us from your side one who will help.”

Ahadith on Tolerance

From the life of our beloved Prophet (SAW), we can learn many lessons of tolerance as He (SAW) did with all mankind whether its believer or non-believer. The whole personality of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) demonstrates the implication of tolerance towards other minorities. Once the people asked Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that why Allah did not command hardships and forcefully flatten the false Gods to prove one true religion. Upon this Allah Almighty sent the following verse of Quran: “And those who associate others with Allah say, “If Allah had willed, we would not have worshipped anything other than Him, neither we nor our fathers nor would we have forbidden anything through other than Him.” Thus did those do before them. So is thereupon the messengers except [the duty of] clear notification?” (Quran, 16:35)

Once when the Prophet (SAW) was asked, “What is Eemaan (belief/faith)?” He (SAW) replied: “Eemaan (faith) is patience and tolerance.”

Tolerance and patience is a characteristic of true faith in Allah, good manners, and upright character. Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), said: “May Allah have mercy on a man who is tolerant when selling, buying, and seeking repayment.” (Sahih Bukhari). So we can say tolerance is a very important concept in Islam and specifically in business.

In modern usage, the word “tolerance” has come to signify mutual respect and peaceful harmony between conflicting religions and ideologies. No doubt, Islam supports tolerance on a social level. Muslims concern to peacefully coincides with any group that desires peaceful coexistence. Tolerance is the gracious knot which binds the family, society and keeps the nation intact. We should impart to our children the quality of tolerance, and forgiveness because the family is the first school of privilege. We should more concentrate on this virtue of tolerance so that we can live peaceful and happy life. Muslims have been generally very tolerant people. We must emphasize this virtue among us and in the world today. Tolerance is needed among our communities. In this way, e can portray the real and very good image of our religion Islam.