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Islam Q&A – Tolerating Other Religions

Given the current claims from some corners that Islam is a tolerant religion, it may be fitting to repost an earlier visit to Ask The Imam:

Afghani Christian convert Abdul Rahman holds a Bible.

Ask the Imam Online Q & A with Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Ask-Imam.com > Islamic Politics > Question 2492 from Canada 

Was it wrong of the talibans to destroy the buddha’s statues? Islam teaches tolerance and I don’t see how this action on theirs can be justafied. What are you views on this?

Answer 2492

It is wrong to say that Islam teaches us to respect the religious beliefs of non-Muslims. To respect the beliefs of others means to respect kufr and shirk. This is totally unacceptable.

Yes, what we do respect is their right to practice their religion. In other words, despite the fact that we intensely abhor their beliefs, should they wish to practice on those beliefs, we will grant them the freedom to do so. This too is on condition that it does not conflict with our interests…

Firstly, let us not be fooled by the term “freedom of religion”. There is no absolute “freedom of religion”. There is not a single state on earth that grants it’s citizens absolute freedom of religion. Even though such clauses appear in the constitutions of many States, it is a relative term. Should anyone’s personal religious convictions and practices conflict with the interests of the state, then such religious practices will be outlawed.

So just as every other state on earth gives preference to its own interests over the religious convictions of any citizen, similarly too does the Islamic state give preference to its own objectives.

An Islamic state is established with the sole purpose of establishing the Deen of Allah Ta’ala on Allah’s earth. The prime object is to entrench Islam in the land. Should any individual’s personal interests be in conflict with this objective, preference will obviously be given to the Deen. The Islamic State is established for the Deen, and not for any particular individual or group. This will apply to even Muslim citizens. Should their personal ideals be in conflict with that of Islam, the ideals of Islam would reign superior.

While the non-Muslim citizens do have the right to practice their religion in Daarul Islam, this is subject to certain conditions. The need for these conditions arises from the fact that, should they be granted absolute freedom, some of their actions would come in conflict with the objectives of the State. Some of these conditions will be discussed below.

The Jizyah which the non-Muslim citizens of Daarul Islam (an Islamic State) pay does not grant them “complete freedom of religion” but rather guarantees them three rights:

Security of life: It is the duty of the Islamic State to guarantee the sanctity of life.

Security of property and honour. Similarly the Islamic State has to provide security to their property. No one has the right to usurp their wealth. In the same light, no one may attack their honour; e.g. no one may backbite or slander the non-Muslim citizen. Retribution will be taken from anyone violating their rights.

Their right to practice their religion, subject to conditions.

Conditions :

While the conditions under which non-Muslims are granted citizenship of Daarul Islam are many, at this juncture we refer to only those that are relative to our discussion.

Some of these conditions are:

They may practice their religion within the privacy of their homes

They may not build any new churches, synagogues etc.

Should any church, synagogue etc. be destroyed or require repair, they may repair or rebuild such buildings.

They may not celebrate any religious festivals in public

They may not display in public any item having particular religious purport, e.g. bible, Cross, statue, etc.

Such items should also be removed from the exterior of their places of worship i.e. No idol, Cross etc may be displayed on the outside of their places of worship.

They may not ring the church bell, nor read their religious books so loud that it is audible in public.

They may not invite towards their religion.

The reason for these conditions is that the purpose of Daarul Islam is to entrench Islam on the earth. Thus the salient features in religion must only be that of Islam. No features of other religions may be observable in public.

It is only when Muslims firmly enforced such laws that Islam reigned superior on earth. Thus the object for which Daarul Islam was established had been achieved…

The cross is a religious symbol, and not an idol or image. Yet since it is a salient feature of the Christians, they were not allowed to publicly display it in Daarul Islam. All publicly displayed crosses were to be demolished, as has been established from the decree of Hazrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz (rahimahullah).

When this is the position of symbol, then to a far greater degree should this apply to statues which are intended to be images of and represent false gods, and which have become objects of worship within themselves.

Thus, to a far greater degree should their display be outlawed. Is it within reasoning to claim that Hazrat Umar (Radiyallahu anhu) would forbid the display of the Cross but condone the display of idols? The stupidity of such a claim is self-evident…

On the other hand the demolishing of idols displayed in Daarul Islam is a religious duty. Unlike swearing the mushrikeen, it has a purpose, which is to ensure that the atmosphere in Daarul Islam is only that of Islam. Thus it is a necessary duty. In carrying out our Islamic duties we fear not the rebuke of anyone ….

In brief, we thus conclude that the destruction of idols displayed in Daarul Islam is an incumbent duty of the Islamic government, and doubts on this issue are founded on baseless arguments.

Moulana Imraan Vawda
Assistant Mufti – Madrasah In’aamiyyah, Camperdown

It seems pretty clear cut to me.

Interestingly, this question and answer seems to have been removed from their current database. But the same answer is given here almost verbatim.

And here is almost a follow-up question, which speaks to the other claims we are currently hearing about how Islam deplores violence:

Ask the Imam Online Q & A with Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Ask-Imam.com > Society and Culture > Question 2494 from United States 

Is Osamah bin Laden is really a hero of Islamic Ummah? Do Taliban government of Afghanistan done right by demolishing the Buddah statues?

My question is that Is Osamah bin Laden is really a hero of Islamic Ummah? If he is involved in bombings at US Embassies worldwide (as US government claims) did he done any service to todays Muslim world? Is it right to kill Americans whether government officers in such bombings according to Islamic rules?

My second question is that Do Taleban government of Afghanistan done right by demolishing the Buddhah statues? There are wide Fatwas against there this act. What is your fatwa?

Answer 2494


1. Usama ibn Laden is a practising Muslim, and thus, our brother in Islam. He has made many sacrifices for the Deen, in particular, the Jihaad of Afghanistan. While we respect him for this, we do not raise any person to any position, except that which Allah Ta'ala wishes.
2. He himself has denied involvement. Why should we then doubt him? Even if a billion Kuffaar say the opposite, the word of a single practising Muslim is more acceptable to us.
3. It was an Islamic duty for the Taliban to have destroyed the idols.

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Note that this was written just six months before 9/11.

And of course they are still big fans.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, September 16th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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