Tolerance in Islam
Tolerance literally means the capacity to endure pain or hardship or it can be said that it is the act of allowing something (others’ opinions, etc). If we have enough tolerance then we do allow other’s to talk and we must have the capacity to listen and bear their perceptions. Intolerance is evil and painful, and it causes violence and destructions in relationships.
In Arabic it is called “tasamuh” .Religion Islam teaches tolerance and puts great emphasis on the importance and benefits of tolerance with the aim to make this world a peaceful place. Islam does not say to let you down in front of others or to stay quiet or to do unjust with yourself. Islam does not ask you to settle for anything less rather by tolerance here means to accept the fact that human beings, naturally distinct in their appearances, situations, perceptions, opinions, speeches, behaviors, and values.
Islam is the religion of tolerance and ease; it gives an ample space for freedom of expression and does not suppress people. Islam teaches us to do our best in presenting and conveying the message of Allah to others in a decent way and to invite people towards the path of truth. After that it is totally up to them to accept or to reject the invitation but we as a Muslims are not allowed to impose our thoughts on people.
Allah says in Quran in Surah Al-Hajj, verse 67-69
For every religion We have appointed rites which they perform. So, [O Muhammad], let the disbelievers not contend with you over the matter but invite them to your Lord. Indeed, you are upon straight guidance. And if they dispute with you, then say, "Allah is most knowing of what you do. Allah will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which you used to differ."
In another place Allah says, in Surah An-Nahl, verse 125:
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.
We can get multiple lessons of tolerance from the life of our Holy Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (P.B.U.H). His entire personality and life style demonstrates the patience and tolerance one must has to lead a balanced life. Once, when some people asked Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) that why Allah don’t put hardships and forcefully demolish the false gods to prove one and the only true religion. Then Allah sent down 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 there upon the messengers except [the duty of] clear notification? (Surah An-Nahl:35)
From the above verse we can clearly understand that tolerance or patience is also the nature of God then who are we to forcefully impose our decisions on others. We can also understand the tolerance of Allah by the deeds we are doing in this world, we all are committing mistakes almost daily in our lives and doing sins but He is continuously giving us chances to realize our wrong deeds and to not repeat them again.
One must be tolerant when he/she is having a bad time in his/her life, one must show patience when he/she is having a loss in his/her business, one must be patient when he/she loses his/her loved ones or is having any hardships in life because this is the thing religion Islam teaches us that to not lose tolerance during hard times. People should not think that why Allah has chosen them to test their patience rather they must think that pain is a blessing and Allah tests those who are closed to Him. If pain is not the biggest blessing then why would Allah give it to His most beloved subjects (the prophets)?
Jabir ibn Abdullah reported that Messenger of Allah, Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H), said: “May Allah have mercy on a man who is tolerant when selling, buying, and seeking repayment.” (Sahih Bukhari).
Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) was oppressed a lot by the people of Makkah and when the opponents of Prophet (P.B.U.H) increased their oppression and tested Prophet’s patience a lot then his companions asked him to curse them. And at that moment the Prophet (P.B.U.H) replied: “I have not been sent to lay a curse upon people but to be a blessing on them.” (Sahih Muslim).
In this way and in many other ways, Islam is the beautiful religion and the religion of peace. If all the Muslim communities across the globe will start practicing the actual teachings of Islam, at that time world will get the real image of religion Islam. This is how we can invite others to enter in this beautiful religion by showing the teachings of Quran and Sunnah from our behaviors.