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How Tolerant Are You Really?

It seems as though Muslims are experiencing hate crimes more and more. Mosques are set on fire, sisters’ hijabs are pulled off, and children are hearing racial slurs in the playground. If you’re even slightly different from the traditional idea of ‘normal’, the world is pretty difficult place to live in right now.

When we think of ‘tolerance’, we’re taken back to primary school lessons on anti-bullying and racism. You can’t help but notice the hypocrisy in those lessons when you feel Islamophobia hitting you from all directions. But is that the only hypocrisy? Are Muslims tolerant towards each other?

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Comments on Muslim YouTube channels show the level of intolerance is excessive amongst Muslims. How can we expect non-Muslims to treat us better than we treat ourselves?

Why is tolerance important?

Certain red caps and shouts of “Make America great again” demonstrate how dangerous life gets when intolerance becomes accepted and encouraged. However, is racial intolerance the only thing we should be focusing on?

Religious intolerance is rife, and Muslims are also guilty of this. Mocking tones dismissing the ‘kufs,’ shunning an individual because of her hijab style, and dividing into groups based on difference of opinion is what some Muslims do best. What are the consequences of this continued separation?

Al-Nu’man ibn Bashir reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.” – (Rated hasan by Bukhari, 5665/Muslim, 2586)

Muslims should pride themselves on unity.

What does Allah say?

The Qur’an is filled with verses encouraging us to treat people with honor and respect, even if they are non-Muslim.

“There is no compulsion in religion: true guidance has become distinct from error, so whoever rejects false gods and believes in God has grasped the firmest hand-hold, one that will never break. God is all hearing and all knowing.” (Al-Baqarah 2:256)

No compulsion in religion. Meaning, you can’t force someone to become Muslim for the simple fact that it needs to be from the heart. What many Muslims don’t realize is that we need to apply this to all aspects of religion. You can’t force someone to be Muslim any more than you can force someone to wear hijab or fast during Ramadan.

All good deeds must be done with the correct intention, but if we are trying to force someone into it, their intention is invalid. So, what’s the point? Advise them, sure, but leave them to accept the advice on their own.

“We have honored the children of Adam and carried them by land and sea; We have provided good sustenance for them and favored them specially above many of those We have created.” (Al-Israa’ 17:70)

The children of Adam are honored. Not the children of Muhammad SAW, or Jesus AS, or Moses AS. Adam AS. The very first man. So, every single human being who has ever walked the planet is an honored creation of Allah SWT. Who are we to disrespect an honored creation?

“…And if they argue with you, say, ‘God is well aware of what you are doing.’ On the Day of Resurrection, God will judge between you regarding your differences.” (Al-Hajj 22:68-69)

God will judge – in a society of Insta followers, Facebook likes, and retweets, we constantly feel judged by the outside world. In turn we then judge everyone else. Remember,  it is not our place to do so. Take a deep breath, and feel safe in the knowledge that God will handle it. The truth will come out, and the fakers and haters will be exposed all in good time. Truthfully, we have enough to correct within ourselves before we start attempting to judge and correct everyone else.

So [Prophet] call people to that faith and follow the straight path as you have been commanded. Do not go by what they desire, but say, ‘I believe in whatever Scripture God has sent down. I am commanded to bring justice between you. God is our Lord and your Lord- to us our deeds and to you yours, so let there be no argument between us and you- God will gather us together, and to Him we shall return.’” (Ash-Shura 42:15)

Let there be no argument between us

Have you ever said that to someone you’re disagreeing with? I know I haven’t (except once, when I was clearly losing the argument and needed a way to safely exit!). How great would it be if we started a disagreement with this phrase: let’s not argue.

How many friends would we still have? How much stress would we have avoided? How much backbiting? This phrase should be everyone’s constant mantra when interacting with people. Think about how relaxed we’d feel! Let there be no argument between us.

So, if Allah is asking us to tolerate and respect people who don’t believe in Him, how do you think we should treat people who do?

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