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Islam and Religious Pluralism

  • 05 February, 2022
  • al-Burāq Publications

From Islamic Insights:

"Every bit of this book has a piece of enlightenment to share. Not only will we be able to understand the Islamic basis for salvation, but perhaps we will begin to reshape our definitions of the words “Muslim” and “non-Muslim”!

Whether monotheistic or not, every religious group faces a question that it cannot avoid: does their religion determine the fate of followers of other faiths? If salvation is only limited to people of their faith, what about the great men and women who engage in tremendous service to humanity but belong to other faiths?

If these questions have ever occurred to us, then we must read Islam and Religious Pluralism by Ayatollah Murtadha Mutahhari. The book is aimed at providing the Islamic view to the above-mentioned dilemmas. Being moderate in length, the book is organized into sections that delve the readers’ minds into developing an accurate perception of Divine Justice.

Every bit of this book has a piece of enlightenment to share. Not only will we be able to understand the Islamic basis for salvation, but perhaps we will begin to reshape our definitions of the words “Muslim” and “non-Muslim”!

A significant portion of the book is attempted to explain Divine Justice. However, as one continues to read, it will also increase one’s appreciation of Islamic ethical values. At every point, the author makes a repetitive reminder that Islam never gives us the license to judge the afterlife (Akhirah) of any individual belonging to any faith. This is simply because we do not possess the tools required to make such a judgment. With our limited perception, we only see the outward effects of people’s actions, but what we are completely oblivious of is the key to judging the individual or his actions: the primary intention behind the acts!

One of the beauties of understanding Divine Justice is that we humble ourselves before our Lord and do not dare to think of ourselves as superior to any of His creatures. As Shia Muslims, we all tend to create an idea in our minds of having a special distinction near Allah. Islam is no doubt the only and Straight Path to God (Quran 3:19); however, Islam does not tolerate us (Shia Muslims) to consider ourselves superior in any way to people of other faiths or schools of thought!

Following the above premise, one may ask what exactly is the difference between sincere action of goodness that a Muslim performs versus that of a non-Muslim? At this point, the author compares the doer of good to a sick person seeking medication. Whereas the Muslim seeks his treatment from an expert or doctor, a non-Muslim follows his/her own opinion, hence not being able to benefit from the perfect treatment.

The author approves the verses and narrations that condemn disbelievers and also believers that are non-Shia. Here comes the most exciting portion of the book, which goes a step further to define the reality of what belief disbelief actually are. Can a non-Muslim be considered a “Muslim” and go to paradise? Can a Muslim-from-birth-to-death end up in eternal Hell because (s)he possesses the elements that constitute “disbelief”? The foundational definition of disbelief (Kufr) is one simple quality: stubbornness leading to rejection of obvious truth. Therefore, whoever possesses this trait (regardless of whether Muslim or not) is a disbeliever. To get adequate explanations to these topics, one must read the book.

To a common individual, Divine Justice appears to be an overwhelming and scary subject. The author, however, is successful in explaining the beautiful balance between Allah’s justice and mercy for His creatures. A true believer constantly lives between hope and fear, while exercising his/her maximum potential to reach nearness to Allah."

The book may be purchased from us at the following link: Islam and Religious Pluralism

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