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What is the islamic concept of tolerance.

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Dear brother Burhan,

What is the islamic concept of tolerance. Kindly elaborate in the light of Quran and Hadith. References from both the sources may kindly be mentioned.

An early reply is requested.


Warm regards.

Safdar Hayat


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Tolerance in Islam

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Dear and beloved brother in Islam, if truth be told, it would be nigh impossible for us to list you all the Verses of the Quran and all the guidance from the Sunnah regarding the concept of tolerance in Islam.for that would indeed require a volume of books rather than a humble article!!!! The term and subject of tolerance is so vast in its manifestation, that we honestly would not even know where to start!


But if were to give you just one verse from the Glorious Quran on the subject of tolerance it would have to be this one:


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 5 Surah Maidah verse 2 (part):

..Help ye one another in righteousness and piety but help ye not one another in sin and rancor: fear Allah: for Allah is strict in punishment.


Islam is just such a tolerant way of life that if you had asked on what issues does Islam have zero-tolerance, that indeed would have been a much easier and quantifiable question to address! If we were to simply list the acts or deeds upon which Islam has prescribed absolute zero-tolerance for its followers, it would be:

  1. Shirk
  2. Disbelief of disobedience of any Command or guidance of Allah and His Messenger (saws)
  3. Any sort of fahisha or indecency
  4. Any sin, or oppression, or injustice, or falsehood.
  5. Anything that has been declared haraam or unlawful by Allah and His Messenger (saws).


Beloved brother, anything which has been declared as unlawful by Allah and His Messenger (saws), Islam has prescribed absolute zero-tolerance for its followers to indulge in.


But if one is not directly under a believers authority (ie. his wife and his children, etc.), and the believer sees or hears something which is prescribed as unlawful happening in his neighborhood or society .. then the duty of the believers is limited to first and foremost abstaining from indulging in the evil himself, and politely warning the people who are willing to listen to his good caution, to abstain from the evil. If the others listen to his good caution and abstain, well and good; if not, then the believer must tolerate the evil happening around him in his society, but obviously despise that evil in his heart, and absolutely abstain from ever indulging in it himself.


Sahih Muslim Hadith 79 Narrated by Abu Sa'id al-Khudri

I heard the Messenger of Allah (saws) as saying: He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do that, then he should do it with his tongue; and if he has not strength enough to do even that, then he should (at least abhor it) from his heart; and that is the least of faith.


In light of the above guidance, we would like to clarify the three things:

  1. modify with his hands: This relates to those who are directly under his authority alone (wife, children, etc.)
  2. modify with his tongue: This relates to warning those who are willing to listen to his good caution.
  3. abhor it from his heart: tolerate the evil that is going on, but absolutely abhor it in his heart of hearts and never ever indulge in it himself.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your brother and well wisher in Islam,




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