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Tolerance and Coercion

(2,413 words)

Author(s): Friedmann, Yohanan
Accepting attitude towards a plurality of viewpoints and the use of force to influence behavior or beliefs. Qurʾānic vocabulary lacks a specific term to express the idea of tolerance but several verses explicitly state that religious coercion ( ikrāh) is either unfeasible or forbidden; other verses may be interpreted as expressing the same notion. Pertinent qurʾānic attitudes underwent substantial development during Muḥammad's prophetic career. The earliest reference to religious tolerance seems to be included in q 109, a sūra that recognizes the unbridgeable gap betwe…

Dissension

(1,131 words)

Author(s): Friedmann, Yohanan
Partisan quarreling which, in the Qurʾān, denotes religious sectarianism. The qurʾānic concept of dissension is expressed by the Arabic terms ikhtilāf or tafarruq, both of which carry a pejorative sense. According to q 2:213 and 10:19, humankind ¶ started its existence on earth as a united religious community. The nature of this primordial religion is not specified in the Qurʾān; in exegetical literature it is described as “the religion of truth” ( dīn al-ḥaqq), sometimes explicitly equated with Islam. The dissension that set in later and resulted in the disruption o…

Aḥmadiyya

(941 words)

Author(s): Friedmann, Yohanan
The Aḥmadiyya Movement in Islam (Urdu Jamāʿat-i Aḥmadiyya) is a modern messianic movement. It was founded in 1889 in the Indian province of the Punjab by Mirzā Ghulām Aḥmad (1835-1908) and has become exceedingly controversial within contemporary Muslim circles. Claiming for its founder messianic and prophetic status of a certain kind, the Aḥmadī Movement aroused fierce opposition from the Muslim mainstream and ¶ was accused of rejecting the dogma that Muḥammad was the last prophet. Under British rule, the controversy was merely a doctrinal dispute between …