Culture

Omanis Coexistence and Religious Tolerance



Freedom of belief is part of the basic human right in which Islam has acknowledged, (There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing 2:256). Hence, religious tolerance is part of the Islamic ethos as it is also a matter of faith. Islam nurtures people to coexist through positive interaction governed by fairness, compassion, and cooperation with every human regardless of their belief system. This merits Muslims great spiritual, mental, and psychological strength, enabling Muslims to freely interact with non-Muslims with great mental strength and a highly positive attitude towards others even with the large gap in beliefs. This is the governing law of interaction and should never be breached under any circumstances except for when others intend to cause harm and discriminate against Muslims due to their beliefs, (Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly 60:8)

Islam teaches tolerance towards ideas and respect towards those who hold those ideas. This encourages interaction with a level of understanding, respect, and due regard towards others without necessarily accepting their beliefs.

Though every Muslim is entrusted to spread the word of Allah and call people to the path of Islam, this is not achieved by depriving other peoples right to accept or refuse. Each human being (Muslim or non-Muslim) has the freedom to adopt specific values in which they live.

Christians, Jews, Buddhists, atheists to name a few, have different beliefs that are not compatible with the Muslim beliefs, yet Muslims respect their decisions and accept them as human beings. Human cooperation and compassion are not only restricted to intra-religion interactions. Those are human values that should be the basis for any human interaction across religions and any varying attributes. The human attribute shall be respected and valued as this enables seeing through differences into a plethora of common values and goals.

Omanis are raised with the values of openness and acceptance of others. The deep-rooted and rich history of Oman has the answers as to how and why this was possible. Oman is where many cultures have merged in the past due to its unique geographic positioning. From this perspective, history played a role in the formation of the Omani identity. Moreover, Oman as an independent sovereign state that had its identity millennia ago lead to its two leaders to become more receptive to the message of Islam and more open to the Islamic doctrine and willing to obey and accept this religion without conflict. As acceptance and understanding are often a source of strength, not a weakness.

To conclude, Omanis are the people who voluntarily entered Islam and have always avoided all causes of conflict. The majority of Omanis today reject all forms of extremism and violence, not due to government pressure, but due to embedded values of compassion. When a rare instance of condoning extremism is apparent, the government of Oman takes the roles of an educator rather than the role of the judge and punisher. The government invests a lot of resources in intellectual influencers, historians, and psychologists ensure that Omanis are well informed to enable them to act responsibly to play an integral part with the government to stop the spread of negative ideologies and any form of extremism. This is a unique approach that stems from the Islamic doctrine which makes Omanis proud of and hopefully will be applied in other societies too.




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