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Important Caution

Important Caution

 At the conclusion of this introduction, I would like to reiterate the caution that believing in Islām as the only valid path of submission to God does not automatically and necessarily lead to the belief that all non-Muslims will go to hell.  Neither does this exclusivist view of Islām as the only sirāt mustaqÄ«m prevent us from promoting tolerance and peaceful co-existence among the followers of various religions, especially the Jews and the Christians.

While talking about polytheist parents, Almighty Allāh  says:

  ÙˆÙŽØ¥ÙÙ†Ù’ جَاهَدَاكَ عَلى أَنْ تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ Ù„ÙŽÙƒÙŽ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلاَ تُطِعْهُمَا وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا

 “And if they insist on you to associate with Me (someone as on object of worship) of what you have no knowledge, then do not obey them, however interact with them in this world kindly …”[17]

 Thus, a Muslim has to resist the un-Islāmic influence of non-Muslims, but still be kind to them.  In other words, although your paths in the hereafter will be separate, that does not prevent you from being kind, merciful, and just to non-Muslims in this world.

 Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi

Toronto, Ontario

May 13th, 2004 / 23th of Rabīul Awwal 1425 AH


[1]  Al-Qur'ān, SÅ«ratul Baqarah (2), Verse 253; Al-Qur'ān, SÅ«rat BanÄ« Isrā'Ä«l (17), Verse 55

[2]  Al-Qur'ān, SÅ«ratul Ahzāb (33), Verse 7; also see Al-Qur'ān, SÅ«ratul ShÅ«ra (42), Verse 13:


شَرَعَ لَكُمْ مِنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّى بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَى وَعِيسَى...

“He has made plain to you the religion that He enjoined upon NÅ«h, and that which We have revealed to you, and that We have enjoined upon IbrāhÄ«m, MÅ«sā, and `Isā…”

[3]  Al-Qur'ān, SÅ«rat Ä€li Imrān (3), Verse 84

[4]  It took the Catholic Church almost two thousand years to recognize the non-Christians including the Muslims.  The Second Vatican Council declared in 1964 that “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his church, but who seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience–those too may achieve eternal salvation.” Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents (Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources, 1975) p. 367.

[5]  Imām `AlÄ« ZaÄ«nul `Ä€bidÄ«n, Risālatul HuqÅ«q, tr. SSA Rizvi (Vancouver: VIEF, 1989) p. 36.

[6]  Ira Lapidus writes: “The Ottomans, like previous Muslim regimes, considered the non-Muslim subjects autonomous but dependent peoples whose internal social, religious, and communal life was regulated by their own religious organizations, but their leaders were appointed by, and responsible to, a Muslim state.” A History of Islāmic Societies (NY: Cambridge University Press, 1990) p. 323. Also see Marshall Hodgson, The Venture of Islām, vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974) p. 306.

[7]  Hick, God and the Universe of Faith (London: Macmillan, 1977) p. 140.

[8]  Hick, An Interpretation of Religion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989) p. 364-365.

[9]  John Hick, An Interpretation of Religion, p. 241. In other words, we cannot really know God; what we know is our perception of Him.  Muslim philosophers do not accept Kant’s theory.  For more on the theory of knowledge from the Islāmic perspective in English, see Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabā'tabā'Ä«, The Elements of Islāmic Metaphysic, tr. S.A.Q. Qarā’i (London: ICAS Press, 2003) p. 115-132 and also Part One of S.M. Bāqir as-Sadr, Our Philosophy, tr. Shams C. Inati (London: MuÄ¥ammadi Trust, 1987).

[10] The Essential Rumi, translated by C. Barks (New Jersey: Castle Books, 1997) p. 525.

[11] Al-Qur'ān, Sūratul Baqarah (2), Verse 257

[12] See the discussion in this book.  Ä€yatullāh MuÅ¥ahharÄ«’s comment that “the reality of submission has a particular form in each age” is also key to the proper understanding of SÅ«ratul Baqarah (2), Verse 62.

[13] Al-Qur'ān, Sūrat Āli Imrān (3), Verse 19

[14] Al-Qur'ān, Sūrat Āli Imrān (3), Verse 19-20

[15] Muhammad Ibrāhīm Āyatī, Tārīkh-e Payghambar-e Islām (Tehran: Tehran University Press, n.d.) p. 480-482.

[16] Ibid, p. 483- 494.

[17] Al-Qur'ān, Sūrat Luqmān (31), Verse 15

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