The Qur’an and Normative Religious Pluralism: A Thematic Study of the Qur’an
by Arif Kemil Abdullah
IN A MULTI-FAITH WORLD Islam is widely regarded as dogmatic and exclusivist. Yet in the Qur’an we have a great and worthy example of how to live in diversity, of powerful scriptural tenets that lend themselves precisely to engagement with those of other faiths. As such Islam has much to add to the debate on Religious Pluralism.
For Muslims the issue is a delicate one. Aside from being tolerant and respectful of other faiths, advocating freedom of faith, and peaceful co- existence for all humanity, Muslims have to intellectually engage on matters of religious truth whilst defending the validity of their own Islamic tenets. This study is focused on the Qur’anic text. It explores the Qur’anic conception of normative religious pluralism with a view to providing answers to questions such as whether the Qur’an itself regards normative religious pluralism as a value system or simply a method through which the Qur’anic world view can be actualised. In doing so the author corrects some highly controversial misquoted, mistranslated, and/or quoted out of context verses of the Qur’an, including the so-called verse of the sword and the perception of not taking non-Muslims as friends.
In reality, the Qur’an calls for freedom of faith and peaceful co- existence, but condemns oppression, religious persecution, and those who initiate hostilities. In this way it not only invokes human dignity, but restores it when it is violated.
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