Complex-free soul is one which is free of all forms of negative thinking - prejudice, hatred, enmity etc. He who is able to free his mind of such thoughts is complex free. To make one free is not a mysterious formula, it depends on the act of introspection and contemplation. The following verse in the Quran,

An nafsul mutmayinna (89:27)

This verse says how man becomes complex-free. If God gives favour to man, he thinks he is superior. On the other hand, when God withhold something which man has wanted he thinks he has been let down [89:15-16]. Both thinking are wrong. Man should be able to acquit him of both these thinking, only then will he be complex free.
It is un-Islamic to consider reconciliation as cowardice. If we opine so, what will we think about Prophet Muhammad? There is no other instance in history where reconciliation was done by unilaterally accepting the terms of the opposing party. This is an extreme example of reconciliation. Mr. Sajid Anwar told of an instance where the distribution of the Quran to non-Muslims was being discussed. An attendee interrupted the discussion and raised the question that if a non-Muslim disrespects the Quran and throws away the copy, who would be liable for punishment? In response, another attendee cited an instance whereby, a dawah contingent was sent to King of Iran. A companion took that document, which had Quranic verses. When he gave it to the King, he tore it away. So, the attendee asked who would be accountable in this case. This is no logic. It is misguidance from Satan so that Muslims refrain from doing dawah work. Reconciliation is not cowardice, it is wisdom and according to Quran it is the best way!
There are two kinds of talks - one that revolve problems and issues that exist in the world around us. People sit together to discuss these issues and raise hue and cry about it. It is my understanding that people are already prepared for attending such gatherings and need not be prepared additionally. The other kind is the CPS lectures. In my view, people are not prepared for such lectures. Making a person a prepared mind therefore assumes paramount importance.

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Tolerance is a noble humanitarian and Islamic virtue. Its practice means making concessions to others. Intoler-ance, on the other hand, means showing a self-centered unconcern for the needs of others. Tolerance is a worthy, humane virtue, which has been described in different terms in the Shariah: for instance, gentle behaviour, showing concern for others, being soft-hearted, being compassion-ate.

When true God-worship and religiosity is born within a person, he reaches above all those evils, which emanate from selfishness. Instead of living within the confines of the self, he begins to live in the world of reality. The truly pious person begins to look upon people with love and compassion. He does not expect anything from anyone, that is why even when others differ from him or do not behave well towards him, he continues nevertheless to make concessions to them, and continues to be tolerant towards them.

Tolerance implies unswerving respect for others, whether in agreement or disagreement with them. The tolerant man will always consider the case of others sympathetically, be they relatives or friends, and irrespective of the treatment he is given by them, be it of a positive or a negative nature.

Tolerance means, in essence, to give consideration to others. In social life, friction between people does occur in every society, differences arising from religion, culture, tradition and personal tastes persist. In such a situation the superior course of action is to adopt the ways of concession and large-heartedness without any compromise of principle.

That is to say that the pious man should be a man of principle as far as he himself is concerned, but should be tolerant towards others. He should judge himself in the light of the ideal but in the matter of his fellow men he should show tolerance and broad-mindedness. This being inseparable from human gentility and nobility, Islam aims to produce this fine human quality of gentlemanliness by preaching tolerance.

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Avoidance of friction is one of the most important principles of life. Such avoidance means refraining from retaliation on occasions of complaint and dissension.

By temperament, all men and women differ from one another in many ways. Everyone has experienced the disagreeable situations, arising from such differences. In social life, be it inside or outside the home, it is but natural that unpleasantness should occur from time to time. This is unavoidable.

Now whenever any negative situation arises one way of dealing with it is a head-on clash, i.e. an attempt to solve the problem by direct confrontation. Such attempts are abortive as they only aggravate the problem. In no way will they improve matters.

Islam tells us that on such occasions we should adopt the policy of avoidance. That is, instead of behaving violently and fighting, we should opt for the course of tolerance and forbearance; instead of combating violence with violence, we should adopt the policy of avoidance; remaining united in spite of differences.

According to Islam, it is not only a point of social behaviour but an act meriting great reward. Living with people, and observing their principles are acts which would deserve a reward in normal circumstances, but when one continues to be well-behaved in spite of differences and grudges, by curbing negative sentiments, then the reward is increased manifold. Those who sedulously avoid friction will be counted by God among the possessors of a superior character.

For the human character to retain its superiority there must be staunch and unceasing adherence to the principle of avoidance.

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Objective thinking arouses universal approach. The more objectively a person thinks the more universal he becomes. Normally people think subjectively and are not able to think keeping the entire humanity in mind. They restrict themselves to their family, society and community. Each person therefore must introspect and get to know whether he has a self-centered or a universal approach. A man can get to know this himself and can also work on it himself.

Source: The Seeker’s Guide

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Contrary to common belief, Islam is not intolerant to other religions. It teaches its adherents to give mutual respect to, to be tolerant of and to have dialogue with people of other religions.

This can be clearly seen from the following example of the Prophet. When the Prophet reached Medina, it was also inhabited by some idolaters and Jews, who were in a minority. The Prophet decided that some form of law should be established so that there would be no misunderstanding or hostility of any sort, in the future between them and the Muslims. To solve this problem the Prophet of Islam issued a charter, commonly known as the Covenant of Medina. Since the Muslims were in the majority, the Prophet's position became that of a leader, or a head of state. In this capacity, he declared in this charter that all the inhabitants of Medina would enjoy equal rights. Everyone would be free to follow the religion and culture of his or her choice: the affairs of the adherents of each religion would be decided according to their belief.

Here I would like to quote an event in the life of the Prophet of Islam, which illustrates the true spirit of religious tolerance. One day a funeral procession was passing along a street in Medina. The Prophet, who was seated there at the time of its passing, stood up in respect to the deceased person. One of his companions said, 'O Prophet, it was a funeral procession of a Jew!' meaning that he should not demonstrate such respect for a non-Muslim. The Prophet replied: 'Alaisat nafsan': 'Was he not a human being?' This 'humanitarian' outlook was typical of the Prophet's vision of life. He was able to see everyone basically as a human being. In this case, he discovered a commonality between himself and that Jewish person. He felt that just as he was a human being, so also was the Jew a human being. Just as God had created him, so also had God created the Jew. People may have their differences in belief, religion, culture, etc., but a common bond has to be discovered between them, which shows them all to be human beings.

This shows that Islam teaches tolerance and mutual respect. Realizing that religious differences have always existed between people, Islam also teaches us to have open dialogue with people of other religions. That is why inter-religious dialogue has been found in one form or the other since the beginning of Islam. In fact, fourteen hundred years ago, Prophet Mohammad held, what can be said as the first inter-faith dialogue in Medina when a three-religion conference-in modern terminology, a trialogue-to exchange views on religious issues took place between the followers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Such attempts have repeatedly been made in history. The circumstances that unfolded following the Second World War led the Christian Church, in particular, to pay great attention to this matter. Through its continuous efforts dialogues of this nature are regularly being held in various countries, between Muslims and Christians in particular. I too have had the occasion to participate in several of these dialogues. These efforts have borne fruit, at least partially. For instance, it is as a result of these efforts that on the one hand, a Church has appeared once again in Ben Ghazi (Libya) while on the other, a mosque has been built in Rome for the first time in recent history.

If the Qur'an is consulted with this point in view, we find two main principles on which to hold dialogues. One is derived from this verse of the Qur'an:

Say: O People of Book, let us come to a word common to us and you that we will worship none but God (3:64).

The first and foremost principle for any dialogue held to discuss two or more religions is to strive to find a mutual basis for peaceful co-existence.

It is a fact that finding a common ground in secular matters is comparatively easy, for nothing is held as sacred in secularism. On the contrary everything acquires a sacred character in religion. That is why it becomes the most difficult task to find a basis for agreement in religious matters. However, despite all difficulties, we must continue our efforts, peacefully, irrespective of the results.

The second principle given by the Qur'an is purely a matter of pragmatism. That is, matters should be settled on practical grounds by avoiding their theoretical aspects. This principle is derived from this verse of the Qur'an:

To you your religion and to me mine (109:6).

This principle is generally referred to, in today's context as religious co-existence. This means that whenever common grounds for agreement between two or more parties cannot be arrived at on an ideological basis, then the way of practical co-existence must be adopted.

The Community of Saint Egidio provides a good example of a continuing dialogue of this nature. This promotes interaction on a mass scale between adherents of different religions. In view of its vastness it may be rightly termed a super dialogue. The religious meet held under the auspices of the Community of Saint Egidio on a large scale each year makes a considerable contribution towards the achievement of the goal targeted by inter-religious dialogue.

Here I would like to add another point. We should not judge our efforts in this matter only by the results of meetings held in the name of formally arranged inter-religious dialogue. The truth is that "inter-religious dialogue" is not now limited to specific meetings held in the field of religion. It has rather assumed the form of a vast historical process-spontaneous, ongoing and perhaps never fully recorded. Negotiation in controversial matters is in tune with the spirit of the age. Today, it has permeated all walks of national as well as international life.

Modern industrial revolution and modern communication have added such vast dimensions to human relations that now the entire world has been converted into a global village. People of various persuasions are coming closer, on a universal scale. This interaction serves as an on-going dialogue of an informal nature. In this way with distances narrowed, the confrontational attitude now gives way to compromise.

Interaction in itself is an unproclaimed dialogue. When, as a result of circumstances, interaction between people of different persuasions increases, the purpose of the dialogue is served on its own.

Today, in educational institutions, offices, and factories, in travel, on playgrounds and in national and international activities, adherents of different religious traditions are meeting one another on a scale hitherto unwitnessed.

In the course of this continuous and vast interaction, for the first time in human history, people seem less like strangers to one another. A great gap has been bridged. People are learning one another's languages. They are becoming familiar with one another's culture. Making concessions to one another has become a need of the people themselves.

These factors have brought people closer right across the world. And it is a psychological truth that closeness and interaction in themselves serve the purpose of a practical dialogue.

Probably the most signal result of this historical process is that after a long intellectual struggle religious intolerance has been universally rejected. Religious intolerance has now been replaced with complete religious freedom. Today under auspices of the United Nations all the nations of the world have signed the universal declaration of human rights.

In accordance with this declaration religious freedom has been accepted as the natural birthright of all human beings. As opposed to practices in ancient times, no one now enjoys the right to persecute anyone on the basis of religion. This is the change, which has confined the sphere of religious difference to peaceful negotiation.

The effects of this can be seen in all walks of life, whether religious or secular. Every one of us, consciously or unconsciously, plays a part in making religious co-existence a reality.

Interfaith dialogue becoming a part of the historical process holds great promise for us, as in this case its success is assured. This is how every great revolution of history has got under way. Whenever a movement goes beyond the stage of individual or group efforts and joins the historical process itself, then the continuity of that movement is ensured and ultimately nothing can stop it reaching its destination.

In short, inter-religious dialogue had its beginnings in individual interaction, paving the way for discussions held in religious gatherings. Ultimately the time came when it became a part of a world movement. Now, if the course of events is any indication, God willing, that day too will dawn when the world is no more ridden with religious disputes, and we are able to live in a peaceful and harmonious world.

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Contrary to common belief, Islam does not teach its adherents to react against issues such as that of Rushdie and the cartoon issue. Islam teaches patience in the fullest sense of the word.

On the publication of the Satanic verses by Salman Rushdie, the Muslim reaction was to have him killed forthwith; he had committed an unpardonable offense against Islam and the Prophet. All over the world, Muslims demanded his head. They were not prepared to settle for anything less than that. In a similar incident, when the Denmark cartoon was published, the Muslims reacted in much the same manner.

In the modern age, all campaigns are spread like wildfire. Reactions such these give the impression that Muslims are vengeful and violent people. Consequently, in certain Western countries notice boards are put saying, "Beware of Muslims". This shows the extreme fear engendered by the Muslim fundamentalist threat worldwide.

In all fairness one can ask, 'Is this Islam?' Never! God has been represented in Islam as an All Merciful, and the Prophet has been proclaimed the Prophet of Mercy. It is ironical that in the name of such a magnanimous religion, a certain section of the fundamentalists could not appreciate such sentiments far less promote them. Islam can never incite people to committing murder in the name of religion, simply because someone had written a book or published a cartoon which ruffled their emotions.

In the days of the Prophet a large number of Rushdies, Taslima Nasreens and cartoon publishers existed, but none of them were beheaded or protested against for having insulted Islam and its prophet. On the contrary, in the times of the Prophet, the principle of countering words with words was followed. That is why those who spoke out against Islam no matter to what lengths they went were not penalised in any way. All that happened was that the Prophet appointed a poet called Hassan to give a befitting answer in verse to the offenders, poetry being the main mode of public expression and sentiments. This is the example we should follow for the resolution of all such problems in true Islamic spirit and earlier traditions.

The Prophet's name was Muhammad, meaning the praised one or the praiseworthy. But when the Meccans became his most dire opponents, they themselves coined a name for the Prophet, 'Muzammam,' on the pattern of 'Muhammad,' Muzammam meaning condemned. They used to heap abuses on him calling him by this epithet of Muzammam. But the Prophet was never enraged at this distorted version of his name. All he said in return was: "Aren't you surprised that God has turned away the abuses of the Quraysh from me. They abuse a person by the name of Muzammam. Whereas I am Muhammad (Ibn Hisham, 1/379).

This meant that abuses were being heaped on a person whose name was Muzammam. Since the Prophet's name was Muhammad, not Muzammam, their abuses did not apply to him. This shows that Islam does not teach one to be easily provoked, even in cases of extreme provocation.

On another occasion the Prophet of Islam was in the Masjid al-Nabwi in Madinah, the second most sacred mosque in Islam, when a Bedouin, that is, a desert Arab, entered the mosque and urinated inside it. It was obviously a very provocative matter. But the Prophet was not at all provoked. After the nomad had urinated, the Prophet simply asked his companions to bring a bucket of water and wash the place clean (Fathul Bari, 1/386).

A western commentator, William Patron, has observed: One of the fruits of Islam has been that stubborn durable patience which comes out of the submission to the absolute will of God.

This observation is indeed very apt. Islam attaches great importance to patience. Most of the verses of the Qur'an have a bearing, directly or indirectly, upon this virtue. In truth, patience is an attribute without which the very thought of Islam is unimaginable.

The present world is designed in such a way that here one has repeatedly to face unpleasant experiences, inside as well as outside the home. Now if people were to fall to wrangling on all such occasions, they would fail to advance along the path of human progress. That is why Islam has placed great emphasis on patience, so that by avoiding all unpleasantness, man may continue his onward journey towards the higher goal - God-realization.

The Qur'an repeatedly stresses the need for patience. In chapter 31, we are enjoined to remain patient in these words, "Endure with fortitude whatever befalls you." (17) In chapter 8, we are told to "have patience. God is with those that are patient." (46) Chapter 103 says, "Perdition shall be the lot of man except for those who believe and do good works and exhort one another to justice and to fortitude.

Similarly, the traditions have laid great emphasis on the importance of patience. The Prophet once said, 'Listen and obey and be patient.' On another occasion he observed: 'God has commanded man to be patient and forgiving.' A companion of the Prophet said: 'The Prophet and his companions always remained patient in the face of persecution at the hands of enemies.' It is true that patience provides the basic quality for Islamic activism. In this world no one can adhere to the path of Islamic virtue without remaining patient.

Patience is the exercise of restraint in trying situations. It is a virtue, which enables the individual to proceed towards worthy goals, undeflected by adverse circumstances or repeated provocations. If he allows himself to become upset by opposition, taunts or other kinds of unpleasantness, he will never reach his goals. He will simply become enmeshed in irrelevancies.

The only way to deal with the irksome side of daily living is to exercise patience. Patience will ensure that whenever one has some bitter experience, he will opt for the way of tolerance rather than that of reaction to provocation. It will enable one to absorb shocks and to continue, undeterred, on one's onward journey.

Patience, as well as being a practical solution to the problems faced in the outside world, is also a means of positive character building. One who fails to exercise patience, gives free rein to negative thoughts and feelings, develops a personality which is likewise negative while one who remains patient is so morally bolstered by his own positive thoughts and feelings that he develops a positive personality.

Sabr is no retreat. Sabr only amounts to taking the initiative along the path of wisdom and reason as opposed to the path of the emotions. Sabr gives one the strength to restrain one's emotions in delicate situations and rather to use one's brains to find a course of action along result-oriented lines.

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Let us try to understand why Islam is considered a religion of violence.

Today is the age of media. Before the advent of the modern media there were a large number of people in the world who knew nothing of Islam. With the invention of the printing press and the advent of the electronic media it is difficult to find even a single person, today, who is unaware of it.

But there is a clear-cut difference. In previous ages it happened that wherever Islam spread people were so impressed with it that most of them welcomed it. Strangely enough though, the present day coverage given to Islam has produced only a negative effect due to the negative actions of certain Muslims. People are now generally allergic to Islam rather than being interested in it.

Why are certain Muslims behaving negatively? According to Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, this is due to not knowing the limit of freedom. Modern man aspired to freedom as the highest good, but once having reached this goal, he was unable to set reasonable limits to freedom. In consequence, unrestrained freedom descended into anarchy and lawlessness and all other forms of negativity. Unrest starts at the level of the mind. This happens when people become conditioned to living lives, which are self-oriented instead of God-oriented. As a result of this unrest, they either live in a state of insecurity or isolate themselves from society, or in other ways become negative in their reactions. Some go to the extent of taking the law into their own hands, which results in chaos, violence and even global terrorism.

The tragedy of all is that in actuality, it is no exaggeration to say that Islam and violence are contradictory to each other. The concept of Islamic violence is so obviously unfounded that prima facie it stands rejected. The fact that violence is not sustainable in the present world is sufficient indication that violence as a principle is quite alien to the scheme of things in Islam. Islam claims to be an eternal religion and, as such, could never afford to uphold any principle, which could not stand up to the test of time. Any attempt to bracket violence with Islam amounts, therefore, to casting doubt upon the very eternity of the Islamic religion. Islamic terrorism is a contradiction in terms, much like 'pacifist' terrorism. And the truth of the matter is that, all the teachings of Islam are based directly or indirectly on the principle of peace."

Source: The Age of Peace

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Islam does not have the concept of protesting—neither peaceful nor violent. In both situations, protest is unislamic. The proof of this is that Kaaba, the most sacred mosque, housed over three hundred idols when Prophet was in Mecca but he never protested.

Source: The Seeker’s Guide

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