Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
Seeking Advancement of Knowledge through Spiritual and Intellectual Growth

International ConferenceAbout IRFIIRFI CommitteesRamadan CalendarQur'anic InspirationsWith Your Help

Articles 1 - 1000 | Articles 1001-2000 | Articles 2001 - 3000 | Articles 3001 - 4000 | Articles 4001 - 5000 | Articles 5001 - 6000 |  All Articles

Family and Children | Hadith | Health | Hijab | Islam and Christianity | Islam and Medicine | Islamic Personalities | Other | Personal Growth | Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) | Qur'an | Ramadan | Science | Social Issues | Women in Islam |

Islamic Articles
Islamic Links
Islamic Cemetery
Islamic Books
Women in Islam
Aalim Newsletter
Date Conversion
Prayer Schedule
Q & A
Contact Info


Pluralism: God’s Desire or Will?

By Dr Javed Jamil

Executive Chairman

International Centre for Applied Islamics

Prof Tahir Mahmood, in his article, “Pluralism and unity in Islam” (Hindustan Times, 13/11), has based his arguments on a seemingly beautiful slogan of “pluralism”. He contends that God wants pluralism in the world, and this is why He has given birth to human beings in different religions and faiths. This line of argument is becoming popular with several Muslim writers recently. Had it been the desire of God to see all humans turn to Islam, they argue, He would not have given birth to most humans as non-Muslims. In favour of this argument, they present the verse of the Quran: “If God had so willed He would have made you a single people, but His plan is to test you in what He has given you; so strive as in a race in all virtues.

Prof Mahmood says: “Pluralism in a society coupled with an innate unity of mankind is its foundational aspect. The Quran stresses pluralism of all kinds.” I want to point out that though Quran accepts religious pluralism but it is neither the foundation of the Book of Allah nor its ultimate aim. It is at best a permitted position. But the ultimate aim of the Quran is nothing but the unity of the whole mankind under the umbrella of Islam. Till it is achieved, pluralism is tolerable. Even otherwise, this is true for every ideology that it can tolerate but will never promote other ideologies. Even the advocates of pluralism will want the whole society to adopt the ideals of pluralism and would not love the existence of those who do not believe in the ideology of pluralism.

The Quran tells us that God’s Will and Desire are two different things. In Quran God has clearly spelled his preferences, which represent His Desire. See the following:

· And spend of your substance in the cause of God, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for God loveth those who do good. (2: 195/A)

· And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for God loveth not any arrogant boaster. (31: 18/A)

· They perform (their) vows, and they fear a Day whose evil flies far and wide. And they feed, for the love of God, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive,- (saying), “We feed you for the sake of God alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks.” (76: 7-9/A)

· By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love; and whatever ye give, of a truth God knoweth it well. (3: 92/A)

· Serve God, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess... ( 4: 36/A)

· It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards east or west; but it is righteousness-to believe in God and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing. (2: 177/A)

· For in God’s sight are (all) His servants,- (namely), those who say: “Our Lord! we have indeed believed: forgive us, then, our sins, and save us from the agony of the Fire;”- Those who show patience, firmness and self-control; who are true (in word and deed); who worship devoutly; who spend (in the way of God.; and who pray for forgiveness in the early hours of the morning. (3: 15-17/A)

· And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of God. And God is full of kindness to (His) devotees. (2: 207/A)

· God loveth not that evil should be noised abroad in public speech, except where injustice hath been done; for God is He who heareth and knoweth all things. (4: 148/A)

· Say: the things that my Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret; sins and trespasses against truth or reason. ( 7: 33/A)

· God loveth not one given to perfidy and crime... (4: 105-107/A)

· Those who spend their substance in the cause of God, and follow not up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury,-for them their reward is with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. Kind words and the covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury. God is free of all wants, (2: 262/A)

· And obey not (the behests) of the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and heed not their annoyances, but put thy Trust in God. For enough is God as a Disposer of affairs. (33: 48/A)

· God loveth not that evil should be noised abroad in public speech, except where injustice hath been done; for God is He who heareth and knoweth all things. (4: 148/A)

· And obey God and His Messenger; and fall into no disputes...(8: 46/A)

· For God loveth not any vainglorious boaster,- such persons as are covetous and commend covetousness to men. (57: 23-24/A)

· Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: “O my son! join not in worship (others) with God; for false worship is indeed the highest wrongdoing.” (31: 13/A)

· “O my son!”, (said Luqman), “If there be (but) the weight of a mustard-seed and it were (hidden) in a rock, or (anywhere) in the heavens or on earth, God will bring it forth: for God understands the finest mysteries, (and) is well-acquainted (with them). O my son! establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong: and bear with patient constancy whatever betide thee; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs. And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for God loveth not any arrogant boaster. And be moderate in thy pace, and lower thy voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass.” (31: 16-19/A)

Thus Allah has made clear His desires: that all must follow His Book and His Messenger and must do good deeds and avoid wrong deeds. But still, most of the human beings are engaged in severe forms of wrongdoing. Does this mean that God wants people to be bad? Does He want them to fight one another, be untruthful, dishonest and arrogant? No. If people have fallen to evils this is not because God desires them to be bad but because God has let them do things of their own liking, as part of His plan. His plan was to establish a system in which humans are not physically forced to act in a particular way but they choose by their own will to act rightfully or wrongfully. They are free to establish a system of Lawful and Forbidden for them; they can do this either in accordance with the commands of God or according to their own selfish interests. If they were not free, they would not have been tested. If there were no Devil to mislead them, men and women with real mettle would not have emerged on the scene. When an interviewer or examiner interviews or examines a candidate for a big post, he tests him with the most difficult questions, often through confusing inquiries. The World is like a College, established and run by a Management. The Management creates a system to run the college, which every student has to go through. Students prepare for the examination. If Management had wanted, they would have passed all the students giving them the same marks. But the students pass and fail receiving different grades according to their capabilities and hard work. Management’s desire is to see all students passing with excellence, but their plan is to give students a free hand and then test their mettle through a system of tests.

The creation of a system in the world and letting human beings act out of free will represents God’s Will. God’s Guidance through Messengers and Scriptures represents God’s Desire. Pluralism (different faiths, different deities, etc) is the product of God’s Will and not God’s Desire, which seeks the submission of the whole mankind and all the national and international systems to Him. Pluralism is what God has allowed, One System and One People are what God wants mankind to achieve. Muslims must learn to bear with Pluralism, but must not stop endeavoring to unite the whole mankind under the umbrella of God’s Final System.



Please report any broken links to Webmaster
Copyright © 1988-2012 All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer

free web tracker