Islam is not just a religion that teaches to worship God. Islam also teaches about life in the world, about maintaining good relationships with other Muslims and fellow human beings in general. Islam even teaches how to maintain balance in nature.
Worship ordered by God aims to improve the vertical relationship with the Creator and the horizontal relationships with Creation. The vertical relationship is our relationship of worship to God (Arabic: Hablumminallah), while the horizontal relationship describes our interactive relationships with other Muslims and other creatures of God (Arabic: Hablumminannas).
Islam plays a very important role in maintaining tolerance towards religious diversity. Tolerance describes mutual respect and cooperation between different groups of people, who have different cultural, linguistic, ethnical, political, and religious backgrounds. Hence, tolerance is a noble concern and an important part of the teachings of various religions, including Islam. In Islam, tolerance is very rational, practical, and easy to understand. Regarding belief (aqeedah) and worship, Islam has two clear guidelines: 1. “There is no compulsion in religion” and 2.”Your religion for you and our religion for us”. Furthermore, in Islam there is no “rule of peace” in terms of worship, because both the belief and the worship of Muslims to God are different from believers of other religions. Islamic teaching strongly condemns Muslims, who offend the faithful of other belief systems or religions. By definition, Islam is peace, salvation and devotion. This definition of Islam is often expressed by “Islam, the religion of rahmatal lil’ālamîn”. This also means that Islam will not suppress members of other religions. Islam offers dialogue and tolerance in terms of mutual respect and recognizes that the diversity of humanity in religion and belief is the will of God.
The concept of tolerance in Islam is also in line with the Pancasila, the ideology and philosophy of life of the Indonesian nation. Pancasila emerged from a political, cultural, and religious agreement to preserve diversity in Indonesia, and therefore, the diversity of religions or beliefs in particular must be approached in an open, tolerant, and harmonious way. The concept of religious pluralism and tolerance emphasizes social and societal interests, which are not based on a particular belief.
Thus, the stronger our faith and devoutness towards God in the form of worship, the better the relationship with our fellow human beings. In fact, a person’s piety should be questioned if it is not beneficial for their relationship with fellow Muslims, fellow believers, and fellow human beings in general.
Note on translation
- “There is no compulsion in religion (belief) refers to Qur’an verse 256 from the second Surah (The Cow), where this is mentioned. A similar statement is written in verses 99-100 of the tenth Surah: “And if your Lord wanted, everyone on earth would indeed believe together. Do you want to force people to believe? It is not possible for any soul to believe, except with God’s permission. (…)“.
- “Your religion for you and our religion for us” refers to the sixth verse of the Surah 109 (The Unbelievers). This verse is often interpreted in such a way that Muslims should not argue with people of other faith about the content of their faith, but leave them to God. (Nasr, 2015).
- Pancasila is the state’s ideology of Indonesia. It consists of five principles, which are mentioned in the preamble of the Indonesian constitution:
- The belief in the One God (Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa)
- Just and civilized humanity (Kemanusian yang adil dan beradab)
- National unity of Indonesia (Persatuan Indonesia)
- Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in unanimity resulting from the consulting of the delegates (Kerakyatan yang dipimpin oleh hikmat kebijaksanaan dalam permusyawaratan/perwakilan)
- Social justice for all people of Indonesia (Keadilan Sosial bagi seluruh masyarakat Indonesia)
- The term rahmatal lil’ālamîn refers to the fact that Islam is considered a religion that is meant to bring blessings and mercy to all of God’s Creation; not just for a particular nation, group or state, but for all people. This blessing does not only apply to humans, but also to the world of animals and plants.