Educating Muslims about Religious Tolerance | Javed Ahmad Ghamidi

Educating Muslims about Religious Tolerance | Javed Ahmad Ghamidi

September 17, 2019 7 By Ronny Jaskolski


My question is that you have pointed out two intellectual
issues of the current Muslim world at many occasions. First, Muslims, including religious scholars, show undue haste in
declaring opponents as disbelievers which you interpret as “TakfIr”. After that, every believer considers it obligatory to kill
disbelievers with the consent of religious scholars. About these two issues,
I totally agree with your opinion. Will you shed more light on it so that we can figure
out the biggest issue facing Muslims today? Without solving major issues, there is
no benefit dealing with minor issues as we have seen
for centuries. Thank you. I have discussed this issue in detail
in my Dallas lectures (Khutbat-e-Dallas). I remember that it was a discussion
of 2-3 hours that covered this issue. Here, I would only mention a brief
summary of that discussion. You can listen to the
complete lectures for details. It is very clear that I as an individual, religious scholar,
ruler, government official, judge, or in any capacity have no right to judge anyone’s
faith or disbelief in any condition. It is an established fact. I tell you that in this society,
I stand as a challenge to our traditional knowledge. I have a clear viewpoint and I
have written articles on this issue. I have written an article titled ‘Muslim and non-
Muslim’. You can read it in my book ‘Muqamat’. It has also been rendered into English in the
book ‘Selected Essays of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi’. You must read that article in which I have clearly stated that
God did not give this authority to any human living on this earth. If you read the entire Quran
and the entire hadith literature, we have conducted a thorough research on certain
hadith reports that cover this issue and published it. You can read all these hadith reports. In these reports,
the Prophet forbids his followers from “Takfir”. One possiblity was that he could advise
or give a right to anyone to do that. Contrarily, the Prophet only forbade people,
saying you must not do that in any condition. He warned not to indulge
in such a dangerous act. It is because it is not my
job to decide anyone’s beliefs. In this world, legally, it is the right of individuals to
decide whether they are believers or disbelievers. If a person claims he believes in God and His
messenger, who am I to challenge his belief? I have not been given this right. However, if he commits a mistake
in a belief or action, like any other matter, we have the right
to academically point out the flaw. One should hold a dialogue to explain the
mistake, misinterpretation or misconception while trying to study the
divine book or a hadith report. This dialogue must take
place academically. Issuing fatwas, taunting, or calling
others non-Muslims (is not acceptable.) I am telling you with a great sense of responsibility that
God has not given any such authority to any human being. This authority exclusively lies in God’s hands.
Only He can make such a declaration. He does that in this world by
sending down His messengers. After a specific period, He clearly declares rejecters
as disbelievers who will never embrace faith. The process of reward
and punishment follows. However, neither I, nor even a prophet has been given this
right at all. This right exclusively rests in the hands of God. Nobody else can decide matters of belief. Takfir
has its consequences presumed by our people. Let me tell you that they have
not only forms a belief. Instead, when religious scholars issue such
a fatwa against someone, lift becomes hard for him. The way such people are persecuted,
I can relate stories of their sufferings. It leads to an indescribable form of
cruelty. Nobody has a right to do that. After making such a claim, if you beat someone or take
 any action against him, it is similar to waging war against God. I have described this
action in these words. God, our creator, has stated in the Quran addressing
his messengers that He is the one who created all mankind. Had I (God) wanted them to follow only one
religion, I could have made them follow it. It was not difficult for me to do
that because I am their lord. If I have given them the freedom, who
are you to deprive them of this freedom? Therefore, a person who decides about faith
of others and takes action against them on the basis of his claim, persecutes, beats or kills
someone, is actually waging war against God. We have to teach this to our
children and coming generations. Our sole duty is to understand our religion
and educate others about it. That is all. In education, we have the right to analyze a viewpoint
and academically point out a mistake in it. We need to reinstate this academic
atmosphere in the Muslim society. It is the need of the world and
a method recommended by the Quran. It is the need of the world and
a method recommended by the Quran.
The Holy Quran does not
recommend any other method. The Holy Quran does not
recommend any other method. You see how aggressively
the Quran has stated: “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion.
The right course has become clear from the wrong.” (Q 2:256) implying that guidance has been separated
from ignorance. It is clear to everyone. God has revealed Books
and sent down messengers. Therefore, no compulsion regarding acceptance of religion
can be tolerated. This is a clear announcement of the Quran. It has clearly stated that “so whoever wills – let him
believe; and whoever wills – let him disbelieve.” (Q 18:29) Everyone living on the earth is free. They can
decide if they want to believe or disbelieve. I (God) will decide how to treat
them. It is not the duty of the humans. The duty of believers has been elaborated
in a very beautiful statement that reads: “upon you is only the [duty of] notification,
and upon Us is the account.” (Q 13:40) This principle has clearly been explained.
Therefore, this education is quite essential.