Diversity and Pluralism: A Qur’anic Perspective

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Mohammad Hashim Kamali

Abstract

This article begins with a review of the meaning and concept of pluralism and such of its allied words as diversity and tolerance. Then it discusses a set of general premises of Islam such as divine oneness (tawhid), juristic disagreement (ikhtilaf) and disunity (tafarruq) that have a bearing on pluralism. Human dignity (karamah), the moral autonomy of the individual (ikhtiyar) also substantiate the essence of pluralism in Islam. The rest of the article addresses the various manifestations of pluralism ranging from its ethno-linguistic, to religious, political, cultural and legal varieties. The concluding section argues, with reference to Malaysia, that issues pertaining to ethno-religious pluralism call for deeper and more refined approaches to meet new challenges Malaysia is currently facing. The multi-religious and multicultural features of Malaysian society can be enriched by greater policy focus on integration that brings different religious and ethnic groups in closer proximity and contact in their places of residence, learning and work.

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