Islam is the religion of mercy and kindness, the religion of tolerance and ease. Eemaan (faith/Belief), the first of the 5 pillars upon which Islam is based, consists of more than seventy branches (i.e. parts) and one of these parts is, “Tolerance”.
Once when the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was asked, “What is Eemaan (belief/faith) ?”
He (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied: “الإيمان الصبر و السماحة“
“Eemaan (faith) is patience and tolerance.” (Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, no. 554, 2/87)
A similar hadeeth was narrated on the authority of Jaabir bin Abdullah (radhiallahu ‘anhu) in which he asked the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam): “Oh, Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), which is the best (aspect) of Faith (Eemaan)?”
The prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied: “أفضل الإيمان الصبر و السماحة”
“The Best (aspect) of Eemaan (faith) is patience and tolerance.” (Al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, no. 1495, 3/482; Ibn Abi Shaibah in “Al-Eemaan” pg. 43)
The above 2 ahadeeth mean that patience and tolerance are an integral part of a Muslim’s belief and are from the best aspects of Eemaan, the most excellent of which being the declaration that there is no god but Allaah (‘La illaha il Allaah‘), and the humblest of which is the, removal of what is injurious from the path.
Tolerance and patience are traits of the soul of every Muslim, a part of his Eemaan (belief) in the religion of Islam, acknowledging the unparallel sovereignty of our one and only true creator, called in Arabic as “Allaah”.
Eemaan (Faith) is the heart and core of Islam, and certainty is the heart and core of faith. Any piece of knowledge or deed that does not make faith and certainty stronger is abnormal, and any faith that does not urge one to perform good deeds is abnormal.
So, when a thing is part of such an important aspect of Islam, the Eemaan, and not just a part, but from the best of the many branches of Eemaan, then you can understand the value and the importance it holds in the life of a Muslim.
Which religion existing in this dunya (world) today apart from Islam makes “tolerance” a part of Faith and Belief?
Attacking and degrading a religion is very easy. The religion which makes it a part of Faith to be “tolerant” is now attacked by some Islamophobic westerners and modernists claiming that Islam is an Intolerant religion.
You must understand that people who deviate from the fundamental teachings of any religion cannot be taken as perfect representatives of that religion. In a similar manner, if anyone calling himself a Muslim, shows intolerance where he shouldn’t or harms another person whether Muslim or Non-Muslim without any valid reasons, then he has gone against the pristine teachings of Islam.
“Tolerance” in Islam, is not a mere fairytale phrase, but Muslims live it in reality. Islam urges us to be tolerant and forgive others. This is indicated in both the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. Indeed, one of the features of Islam is that it is deen al-rahmah (the religion of mercy). By the same token the Muslim should be easy going, not one who puts others off; he should forgive when he is able to take revenge and be tolerant when people make mistakes.
This deen (religion of Islam) revolves around hope and fear of the one and only creator, so the believer is one who has hope and fear. Allaah Ta’ala said: “Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on us in hope and in fear” (Surah Al-Anbiyya 21 verse 90)
So you will never find a believer except that he is one who has hope and fear. Hope and fear are not established except on the stalk of patience and tolerance, so fear encourages him to have patience and hope steers him towards being thankful. And hope and Fear both makes a believer to have tolerance.
A true believer of Islam (A Muslim) has tranquility as his garment, righteousness his banner, piety his conscience, wisdom his speech, truthfulness and loyalty his nature, tolerance and goodness his character, truth his way, justice his conduct, guidance his leader, Islam his nation.
Series of articles on Tolerance in Islam: