Diversity in Heaven: Qur’anic Perspective Beyond Pluralism
The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 135–150, 2012
16 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2012 Last revised: 18 Dec 2013
Date Written: January 30, 2012
There are difficulties in the practicality of the theory for multiculturalism. Living in a tolerant society means to accept the other, but keeping a distinct identity. The main ingredient that makes people remain apart from each other is often rooted from within their faith and religion. This study looks into the Qur’anic perspective of diversity and pluralism. Like many Christians, many Muslims believe in exclusivism, in which Heaven is exclusive to the adherents of a certain faith and tenets, whether within different sects of the same religion or different religions. This study proves that such an ideology is a misunderstanding of the Qur’an. It shows how the Qur’an portrays not only pluralism, but goes beyond pluralism. Tolerance is to accept the other, but to remain distinct. However, the Qur’an teaches that the distinction between faiths is only a farce appearance used to prove the true merits of people. Although many Muslim scholars convey a message of exclusivity of Heaven, the Qur’an calls such people who make such claims as people without knowledge. Exclusivity of Heaven is an invention by traditional scholars that the Qur’an explicitly speaks against. The proof provided in the paper uses the Qur’anic text and analyzing its linguistics, grammar, and context. The Qur’an not only accepts diversity within society, but proves that this diversity is due to misunderstanding reality, which is the oneness of people and heavenly religions. The terms 'Islam' and 'Muslims' are mentioned many times in the Qur’an, but most Qur’anic commentators define it as the surrender to the will of G-d, except in few verses, where it is defined as the religion known today as Islam. It is this inconsistency in defining the Qur’anic term that brings a false sense of exclusivity within Islam.
Keywords: diversity, Islam, multiculturalism, nationalism, pluralism, Qur’an, religion, religious
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