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Religious freedom between Islam and fanatic Muslims
The Roots of Freedom of religion in Islam

Religious freedom between Islam and fanatic Muslims

  The Roots of Freedom of religion in Islam

  Part One: Freedom of Religion in Islam

Chapter one: The Roots of Freedom of religion in Islam


Man’s freedom of religion is the origin of his existence in this world. Moreover, it is the reason of God’s creation of the universe, and the idea of the hereafter. This is how far the roots of freedom of religion in Islam go. This puts an end to every pretext of people supporting suppression of religion in the name of God, The Creator.


(1)Freedom of religion as a test for us


Let’s read the verses of Quran, those are dealing with this issue in order:

1-      God created the universe including planets, stars, galaxies, and the seven heavens which exist beyond the universe and beyond our imagination. God Almighty says: “Assuredly the creation of the heavens and the earth is a greater matter than the creation of men: yet most men understand not”.(Ch.40/Vrs.57)

2-      God created the universe and the great heavens because of one aim, choosing a creature called man. God Almighty says: (He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six days- and His throne was over the waters- that He might try you, which of you is best in conduct.”(Ch.11/Vrs. 7). So God created heavens and earth to see which one of us is best in conduct.

3-      - At the end of this examination, there will be the Hereafter, when God Almighty will destroy the universe and the heavens to create a new earth and new heavens and reckon people according to their deeds. God Almighty says: “One day the earth will be changed to a different earth, and so will be the heavens, and men will be marshaled forth, before God, the One, the Irresistible”(Ch.14/Vrs.48)

4-       - Thus, man is ordered to contemplate God’s aim of creating heavens and earth. God Almighty says: “Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): "Our Lord! Not for naught Hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire”. (Ch.3 /Vrs.191)

5-      - Thus God hasn’t created heavens and earth in vain. God Almighty says: “And We did not create the heaven and the earth and what is between them in jest.”(Ch.21/Vrs.16).

6-      God created heavens and earth for a true aim, and He made a specific time for them to end. God Almighty says: “We created not the heavens and the earth and all between them but for just ends, and for a term appointed” (Ch.46/Vrs.3)

7-      - Every man goes through his own examination when he exists on earth, lives his appointed age, then dies. Man is required to know during his life that God created him to be examined. God Almighty says: “ He Who created death and life, that He may try you, which of you is best in deed” (Ch.67/Vrs.2)

8-       - Man fails in the exam and hell is appointed as his fate when he spends his lifetime negligent of the aim of his existence. God Almighty says reminding man of the aim of his existence: “Did ye then think that We had created you in jest, and that ye would not be brought back to Us (for account)?”(Ch.23/Vrs.115). God says this to man in the Hereafter when everything has ended.

9-      - It is noticed that God Almighty made the factors of the examination balanced and fair. He created man with a pure instinct, which is his inner sensitive scale that can distinguish between good and evil and directs his faith to God only. In contrast, God assigned the devil to mislead man, and sent prophets with divine books, beautified life and its pride. However, and above all, He created man free, either to obey Him or not, or to believe in Him or not. Moreover, God created man capable of keeping all his secrets, desires, feelings, concerns and thoughts away from anybody in order to enjoy his independence and freedom of thought. If man wants to be free, he will be, and if he wants to be a slave to another man or any thought, he will be too. What is important is, man is able to choose, and through choice, man can use his freedom however he wants. The majority of mankind – according to the Quran – usually chooses to be nonbelievers, and deny their inner instinct and ignore God’s existence.  To this extent, God Almighty created man with free will. And man’s free thought can lead him to deny the existence of God, the Almighty.

10-  In contrast to man’s freedom during lifetime, there’s no prospect of freedom of choice in the Hereafter. Individual freedom of thinking, working and behaving ends at the moment of death, and then man is appointed to take responsibility for his life deeds. This is why God speaks about the Hereafter in Quran in passive tense about the Day of Judgment. For example God Almighty says: “And the earth will shine with glory of its Lord: the record of deeds will be placed open; the prophets and witnesses will be brought forward; and a just decision pronounced between them; and they will not be wronged in the least. And every soul will be paid in full (the fruit) of its deeds; and (God) knoweth best all that they do. The unbelievers will be led to Hell in crowd; until, when they arrive there, its gates will be opened).. .(..And those who feared their Lord will be led to the Garden in crowds”(Ch.39/Vrs.69:73) God doesn’t say: prophets and witnesses will come, but He says: prophets and witnesses will be brought forward. He doesn’t say: The unbelievers will go to hell, but He says: the unbelievers will be led to Hell in crowd, likewise He says: those who feared their Lord will be led to the Garden in crowds. So in the Hereafter everything will be driven. God Almighty says: “But each one of them all will be brought before Us (for judgment)”. (Ch.36/Vrs. 32). And He says “It will be no more than a single blast when lo! They will all be brought up before Us”(Ch. 36/Vrs. 53). “Will be brought” is in passive tense to assure that they will lack free will and ability to run away.

11-  So God Almighty gave us free will in this life to set us up for an examination. He sent a religion to follow. He gave us the unlimited freedom to obey his religion or to disobey it. His true religion accompanied with divine books, yet not accompanied with a sword or angels to order people to follow it. God didn’t create hell in life as He didn’t want nonbelievers to be thrown in it before the eyes of other people. If He did, there wouldn’t be any exam. God sent the religion free of this all. He blessed man with freedom and enabled him to choose either to be a believer or a disbeliever. Nevertheless, God postponed the examination until the Hereafter, and said that He would come in the Hereafter to judge among people.

In this Judgment Day, man’s freedom will end forever, and he will face the results of his deeds when God comes in the hereafter, and earth shines with its God’s light. God did not authorize some people to punish, in His name, others just because they have different opinions or because they disbelieve in God. And those who proclaim their right to punish others spoil the case from its roots and play the role of God - as there is no god but Him. They dominate what God Almighty wanted it to be free, as He created human mind free without restraints, able to think with no limits, and believe or disbelieve if it wants. They fake God’s religion and assault His powers that He saved for Himself to practice in the Hereafter, on grounds that there is no need for punishment and reckoning in the hereafter, as long as there is a compulsion in faith and religion in this life. They form a bad, extreme, bloody, stubborn and fusty image of God’s religion, and contribute to get most people away from it. This bad image has nothing to do with God’s religion. It is their image and their human made religion that is entirely opposite to God’s religion.

12-  Because they were the real enemies of God, He legislated militancy against them, not to force people to get into Islam, but to assure people’s right of to believe or not to believe, as well as their right to get rid of the domination of insincere religious leaders. The insincere religious leaders in Muslim World (priesthood advocates) are those who pretend to be talking in the name of God, and controlling- in His name- people’s minds and thoughts. Islam fought them with the legislation of militancy. Yet the insincere religious leaders of Muslims succeeded in reversing concepts and misrepresenting Islam, fabricating an ugly human made religion that contradicts the real Islam in the Holy Quran.

13-   God confirms in the Holy Quran that He will judge all people in the field of different religions in the Hereafter. In Al Medina, there was a religious political opposition who claimed themselves to be Muslims, to plot against Islam and Muslims. The Holy Quran called them hypocrites. Those hypocrites used to debate with Prophet Muhammad insulting him and his religion, God ordered him not to listen to them and to declare that God will judge between him and them on the Day of Judgment which will be postponed until the Hereafter. God Almighty says: “if they do wrangle with thee, say: God knows best what it is ye are doing. God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning the matters in which ye differ” (Ch.22/Vrs.68-69). God says about disbelievers: “those who reject faith will not cease to be in doubt concerning revelation until the hour of judgment comes suddenly upon them, or there comes to them the penalty of the day of disaster. On that day the dominion will be that of God”(Ch.22/Vrs.55- 56 ).

When the prophet moved to the city of Medina and became a ruler of a state and a leader of a nation, Quran didn’t allow him to force hypocrites to believe in God and obey Him, as they had total freedom of opinion. They entrapped the believers in times of wars, which is considered a great treason in human laws. Yet God has postponed punishment until the Hereafter when He will judge between believers and hypocrites. God Almighty says: “These are the ones who wait and watch you: if ye do gain a victory from Allah, they say: "Were we not with you?"- But if the unbelievers gain a success, they say (to them): "Did we not gain an advantage over you, and did we not guard you from the believers?" but Allah will judge between you on the Day of Judgment. And never will Allah grant, to the unbelievers, a way (to triumph) over the believers “. (Ch.4/Vrs.141)

God owns the religion but he does not impose it on us.  God wanted to examine us, so He created heavens and earth, then created us free either to believe in Him or not. Moreover, He did not authorize prophets, the elite of people, to force anybody to believe in Him. The exam of each of us ends at the time of death, and each will face his fate then in the Hereafter. .


(2)Freedom of religion in Quran

1-      Quran approves that God could make people, if he wanted, one nation with no differences, with no choice, and born on absolute piety like programmed machines. Yet God wanted to create people free to choose different opinions and different religions. Some are believers and some are disbelievers, some are guided and some are misled, each according to his choice and desire.

God Almighty says: “If it were God’s will He could gather them together unto true guidance”. (Ch.6/Vrs.35). “If it had been His will, He could indeed have guided you all”.( 6/ 149) . So God’s will, doesn’t interfere to lead people to faith, or else all people would be faithful, as no one can stand in the way of God’s will. Yet people are different, and they own the freedom of choice between faith and infidelity. This proves that God’s will doesn’t interfere, and people will stay different because it is what God wants, and nothing can hamper God’s will. God Almighty says: “but they will not cease to dispute, except those on whom thy Lord hath bestowed his mercy.(Ch.11/Vrs.118-119). There are different choices before people, and God sends books and sends prophets to enable people to distinguish between right and wrong, justice and injustice, then He leaves it free for them to choose between this and that. God Almighty says: “And unto God leads straight the way, but there are ways that turn aside, if God had willed, He could have guided all of you”. (Ch.16Vrs./9.)

2- When people choose the wrong way, they try to find a religious support for their choice by faking the truth which is suggested in divine books. Yet, God’s will doesn’t interfere, and He allows forging the truth, so people can search for the truth and choose between real and fake. God Almighty says: “Likewise did We make for every Messenger an enemy,- evil ones among men and jinns, inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception. If thy Lord had so planned, they would not have done it: so leave them and their inventions alone. “. So God wanted to make them free to lie to Him and His messenger, and He said to his messenger: “If thy Lord had so planned, they would not have done it, so leave them and their inventions alone”(Ch.6/Vrs.112).

3-      God threatens to punish them in the day of Resurrection, He Knows their conspiracies of manipulating His verses, yet though He gives them freedom, He will make them take the responsibility of their deeds on the Day of Resurrection. God Almighty says: “Those who pervert the truth in our verses are not hidden from us, which is better? He that is cast into the hell fire, or he that comes safe through, on the Day of Judgment? Do that ye will: verily He seeth clearly all that ye do”.(Ch.41/Vrs.40-41). He asked them to do what they wanted, and it is clear that He is addressing those who manipulate God’s religion.

4-      Insincere religious leaders are those who earn living by telling lies and attribute them to the Almighty God and His messenger. They own the will to fight against God, but will bear their mistake on the Day of Resurrection. And the practical evidence is clear before us as they practice their job until now.

5-      - As God Almighty calls people for truth and reminds them of it, He approves their freedom of choice and calls it a “will” too, in order to raise the rank of freedom. God says in two Sura of Quran: “Verily this is an admonition: therefore, whoso will, let him take a straight path to his Lord”(Ch. 73/Vrs 19)Ch.(76/Vrs.38 ). So guidance is the choice of everyone. People can choose either to be guided or misled. Eventually, the guided way is good for man, and the misled way is bad for him. God Almighty says: “A warning to mankind, to any of you that chooses to press forward or to follow behind, every soul will be held in pledge for its deeds”. (Ch.47/Vrs.36- 38). The same meaning is repeated suggesting man’s will and his entire freedom of either to believe in God or not. God says: “Nay, this surely is an admonition: let any who will, keep it in remembrance”.( Ch.74/Vrs. 54- 55). “Verily this is no less than a message to all the worlds: with profit to whomever among you wills to go straight”(Ch.81/Vrs.28). And “Therefore let whoso will, keep it in remembrance”.(Ch.80/Vrs.12). Are more evidences on man’s freedom to believe in God or not needed?

6-      Freedom of belief in God is the utmost of the opinion in Islam. As long as the Quran suggests that man is free to believe or disbelieve in God, man is free also to disbelieve in the leader or in any religious or civil authority.

7-      - From here the Islamic principle “let there be no compulsion in religion” emerges. This famous verse Ch.(2/Vrs.256 )was sent while the prophet was in Medina, when the state of Islam was powerful and strong. Yet this principle was sent before in Mecca when the prophet was exaggerating in urging people to believe in God alone. So God told him, reminding him with His will: “if it had been thy Lord’s will they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will to believe”.( Ch.10/Vrs. 99).

8-      God ordered the prophet to leave alone those who insisted on disbelieving, as God sent him as a messenger with no power over them. God Almighty says: “therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish, thou are not one to manage men’s affairs. But if any turn away and reject God, God will punish him with a mighty punishment for to us will be their return; then it will be for us to call them to account”(Ch.88/Vrs. 21- 26) . God is the only One Who will reckon their deeds in the Hereafter. The same meaning is repeated in: “Turn aside from those who join gods with God, if it had been God’s will, they would not have taken false gods. But We made thee not one to watch over their doings nor art thou set over them to dispose of their affairs”.(Ch.6/Vrs. 106- 107). And: “Verily We have sent thee in truth as a bearer of glad tidings and a Warner: but to thee no question shall be asked of the companions of the blazing fire”.(Ch.2/Vrs.119). The Holy Quran was sent with specific sayings that assured the freedom of religion. The prophet was ordered to say them, yet he had to respect his enemies’ right to worship other gods than God, as he has the right to devote to God only. God Almighty asks his prophet to say: “it is God I serve, with my sincere and exclusive devotion: serve ye what ye will besides Him”.(Ch.39/Vrs.14-15). God gave them will. A whole sura is saying: “say: o ye that reject faith! I worship not that which ye worship” and at the end it says: “to you be your way and to me mine”.

9-      God orders the Prophet Mohamed to declare that he says the truth that he got from God, and then they have a total will either to believe in God or disbelieve in Him. They would bear the responsibility if they disbelieved, as torture is waiting for them in the hereafter. God Almighty says: “"Say, the truth is from your Lord": Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it): for the wrong-doers We have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames), like the walls and roof of a tent, will hem them in: if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass, that will scald their faces, how dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch to recline” (Ch.18/Vrs.29) . And He says about Quran: “say: whether ye believe in it or not”(Ch.17/Vrs.107). So they are free whether to believe in Quran or not. 

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