As the pilgrims conclude their activities around Mecca and head home, they are reminded of a directive in the Holy Quran, "... And when you put off the pilgrims' garb and are clear of the Sacred Territory, you may hunt. And let not the enmity of a people, that they hindered you from the Sacred Mosque, incite you to transgress. And help one another in righteousness and piety; but help not one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah; surely, Allah is severe in punishment." (5:2/3)
In our daily lives, it is paramount for the progress and well-being of any people to cooperate in matters that promote goodwill, respect and prosperity, and adopt a course in their social and political endeavors that does not aid or promote matters that destroy the fabric of benevolence and mutual harmony in a society.
It is not for a believer to promote agendas of hatred and discord among people. Therefore, the Holy Quran directs to "Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in a way that is best. Surely, thy Lord knows best who has strayed from His way; and He knows those who are rightly guided." (16:125/126)
The "way that is best" here points to positive and uplifting speech and not negative and caustic rhetoric that incites the overly zealous to oppression, violence and disorderly conduct.
In no way a believer is to make laws or engage in agitation and promote mob behavior to force his view on others, as we read, "And if thy Lord had enforced His will, surely, all who are on the earth would have believed together. Wilt thou, then, force men to become believers?" (10:99/100)
This verse is definitive reminder to the people who consider force to bend the will and attitude of people to their way of interpretation and thinking. God has created man to be free, and in consideration of above quotes, he is to be approached with respect and dignity, and dialog has to be civil and orderly. This approach is made clear and is elaborated further with the directive, "And revile not those whom they call upon beside Allah, lest they, out of spite, revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus, unto every people have We caused their doing to seem fair. Then unto their Lord is their return; and He will inform them of what they used to do." (6:108/109) It cannot be made clearer than this that it is not upon man to penalize, oppress or punish people for their beliefs.
Quran categorically states that discord originates from Satan. "And say to My servants that they should speak that which is best. Surely, Satan stirs up discord among them. Surely, Satan is an open enemy to man." (17:53/54)
A speech that leads to discord, hate and disorder only originates from Satan and does not carry heavenly support or blessings with it. "Speak that which is best" must abide by the directive "and revile not..."
Ahmad is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion pages. He has translated, compiled and co-authored “A Gift for the Queen,” “Points to Ponder,” “Why Islam is my choice” and “Words of Wisdom.” He lives in Fargo and can be reached at email@example.com