TOLERATION … AND
The concept of toleration underlies the project of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Given the disagreements that inevitably arise when persons of different worldviews engage in dialogue over the details of human flourishing, they agree to accept some differences among them in order to create a universally acceptable set of norms. Questions may also arise regarding the extent to which one may tolerate differences without compromising one’s own values. Acts of toleration, which can be practiced in different ways, as well as the attitude of tolerance, which assumes multiple forms, are subject matters ripe for interreligious and cross-cultural conversation.1
As with democracy and freedom of conscience, the idea of toleration has attained universal standing. Necessary for the stability of free and diverse communities, the practice of tolerating difference emerged historically centuries before the establishment of democratic governments. In the case of Islam, various Qur’anic verses and Prophetic traditions suggest toleration as the assumed norm to be violated only if necessary.
Maududi, Qutb, and Soroush view toleration through the lens of Islam. Although all agree that Islam provides resources in support of toleration, Maududi and Qutb also present arguments in favor of the limitations of toleration. These limitations complicate, though not necessarily eradicate, toleration as a universal human right. Because their restrictions on toleration arise primarily as a reaction to remedy the ills