Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi
Sometimes, people pledge loyalty (bai’ah) to a particular religious group or Islamist party to the exclusion of all other Muslims and non-Muslims. Then, they assume that this is the devoutness (Tasallub) that the Islamic Shari’ah has required from them to be the ‘pure’ and ‘devout’ Muslims or Mo’mins. But in reality, it goes completely against the Qur’anic principles of mutual recognition (Ta’aruf), toleration (Tahammul) and moderation (Tawassut) that Islam has emphasized with paramount importance.
The holy Qur’an says:
|إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ|
“The truth is that (all) believers are brothers to one another. So make peace between your two brothers and always fear Allah, so that you may be shown mercy.” (Al-Hujurat: 10).
Islam has made good faith and noble deeds the main criterion for preference among people. Allah says in the Qur’an:
|يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ|
|“O people! We created you from a single male and a female, and (divided) you into (large) peoples and tribes, so that you might recognize one another. Surely, the most honourable amongst you in the sight of Allah is he who fears Allah the most. Certainly, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”|
He also says:
|وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ|
|“The creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and colours are (also some) of His signs. Behold! there are sure signs for the learned people in this (unity of mankind and Oneness of the Creator)”. (Rum 30:22 )|
Islam has forbidden religious fanaticism, as it has negative effects on the Muslim community in particular and humanity at large. It often causes one to act against the essential Islamic virtues and human values, such as disparaging other people’s beliefs and underestimating their opinions. Such a person often misquotes the Islamic scriptures to support his extremist views, thoughts or doctrines.
Such religious fanaticism leads to ideological extremism and, consequently, it paves the way for radicalism, which results into a stereotyped image of the religion that the radical individual falsely claims to follow. Inevitably, it causes common people to have aversion for the entire religion, not only for the individuals who perpetrate the misdeeds. This in turn gives rise to exclusivity, in place of inclusivity, Tahammul (tolerance) and Ta’aruf (mutual recognition), in stark contradiction to what the holy Qur’an has commanded in the above verses.