Islam is the religion of universality transcending phony Islamic versus Judeo- Christian fault-lines demarcated to preclude the very possibility of an all inclusive world. Citing mutashābih, or symbolic, allegorical verses, pseudo-Orientals have leveled an accusation at Islam of being “the religion of sword” nixing the fundamental avowal of Islam as “the religion of peace”.  However, on the contrary, the Quran contains innumerable verses that stand for tolerance, pluralism and inclusion, invalidating western autodidacts who have been lampooning Islam, with indefatigable vigor, but only by narrowly glossing over verses which fall in the category of “mutashabih” verses. The purpose of this write-up is to dispel a few myths regarding Islam being exclusive and isolative.

The Quran says:

“Verily those who believe and those who are Jews, and the Sabeans and the Christians are those who believe in God and the last day and do righteous deeds, so they have their recompense with God. They shall not fear nor shall they sorrow” (2:62, 5:69),

Joseph Lumbard, professor at Brandeis University, has claimed in his paper Quranic Inclusivism in an Age of Globalization that, on a realistic note, these verses brazenly define the spirit of Islam which is naturally all-welcoming and all-inclusive. He further says that these verses are capable of dealing a fatal blow to historical human bigotry that has 0-divided humanity on Christian, Jewish and Islamic lines.

In addition to this, there is not any general consensus as far as the meaning of the word Sabean is concerned. Muslim rulers, in India and elsewhere, made Sabean to represent all non-Abrahamic monotheistic people.  Setting three pre-requisites of piety, the Quran moves adding emphasis by saying:

“Verily We have revealed to you as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him”.

Opposite the haughty claim of traditional hermeneutics that all religions stand rescinded with the advent of Islam, the verse evinces to perpetuity and continuity of message revealed on all the prophets. The message is:

“And We never sent a messenger before thee save that We revealed to him, saying, 'There is no God but I, so Worship me'".

Hence, it is clear without an iota of suspicion that the root “Usul”, viz. surrendering one's will to the will of God, is the same in all revealed religions. The difference lies only in branches - in other words, methodologies - named in Arabic as “Furu”. A Christian praying in Church differs from a Muslim prostrating in a mosque in “Furu”, if he is monotheistic in roots.

But, alas, neither the orthodox Muslims not the liberal Europeans seem to be ready to buy this version of Islam as its prevalence would endanger their blinkered and bigoted worldviews. They both benefit from the perceptions of Islam that degenerate Islam into exclusive and segregationist; the former holds his authority when not encumbered by rationalism and the later by enhancing the clash between Islam and Judeo-Christian worlds, as this spares them enough space to carry on the policies forwarded by the capitalists, like, Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate of US.

Orthodoxy would refute all the above verses and would outweigh them by the verses, like:

"Verily the religion with God is Islam" (5:3). “Who seeks other than Islam as a religion, it will not be accepted from Him” (3:85)

Such verses with perverted interpretations help in manufacturing consent for the concept of “Ummah”. Undoubtedly, the notion of “Ummah”, with tradition on its side, renders Muslims vulnerable to extremism.  While going for the title of “Ameer-ul-Momineen”, Mullah Umar trumpeted the putrid worldview of Ummah in clash with Judeo- Christian world. And the suit has been followed by Baghdadi of Daesh. All-embracing and all-inclusive Islam means revulsion to opportunism propped by the primitive slogan of “Ummah”.

Yohanan Friedmann has made it clear in his book Tolerance and Coercion in Islam that a majority of Muslim scholars throughout history have interpreted the exclusivist verses of Quran more literally than the inclusivist verses. Thousands of deoband ulema from Pakistan, on the dictates of Mufti Mahmud, crossed the porous Durand Line to witness the oath ceremony and to lend it credence of their self-appointed Ameer-ul-Momineen, Mullah Umar, writes Ahmed Rashid in his book Taliban. Traditional Islam has, throughout history, retrieved its support from isolationist verses. As a reason of this, the concept of the Ummah stands tall and impregnable till today.   

On the other side, Western liberals, advertently or inadvertently, have been observed to have a unique penchant for exclusivist Islam. They disdain and bombard extremists but are conterminous with them when interpreting Islam. Oft-cited piece of Graeme Wood, What ISIS Really Wants, implies that rejection of ISIS by other Muslims can only be naïve or hypocritical. The essay is basically a rebuttal of liberal Muslims' stance that Daesh only cherry-picks selected verses and moulds them to suit their barbarism. They are literalists. Graeme denounces the critics of Daesh by saying that ISIS members and supporters follow the texts of Islam as faithfully and seriously as anyone. Not only is the opposition to parochial interpretation of Quranic verses rendered preposterous, the very proposition that inclusive Islam exists at all is dubbed outlandish and archaic.

Then, there arrives Mr. Haykel to dye Daesh's barbarism as its unique seriousness at interpreting religious texts. Extracting justification for wringing the necks of foreign journalists, for marauding co-religionists - Yazdis - for their little deviations, and for razing the tombs of prophets, is named seriousness - rather, extreme seriousness, in the interpretation of religious texts. Kudos and salutes for Mr. Haykel! He says:

“What’s striking about [ISIS] is not just the literalism, but also the seriousness with which they read these texts,” Haykel said. “There is an assiduous, obsessive seriousness that Muslims don’t normally have.”  

What this uncanny alliance of Muslim traditionalists and Western liberals has achieved, among other things, is leaving the countering campaigns of Muslim liberals less dastardly. It has stymied their zest at opposing these nitwits. Nothing, there is nothing for Muslim liberals who believe this version of Islam. The Quran says:  

“And for each we have made among them a law and a creed; and if God wanted He would have made you a single community, but to try you regarding what has come to you, so vie in good deeds; to God is your return all of you, so we inform of that wherein you differed.”(5:48).

Before cracking down on Daesh, had the West censored - in other words, conducted a mild crackdown on - the bitchy likes of Graeme Wood and Haykel, it would have eschewed the dilemma faced by Hitler during the Second World War - a dearth of allies. All the liberal Muslims would have confidently joined hands with the West and would have openly disowned Daesh. The West should dislodge these evils-in-disguise from the prestigious positions where they are calling shots and ranting anti-Islamic slogans. In turn, all liberal Muslims, for sure, will knit themselves in this virtuous Jihad: of turning these bastards—Daesh—into smithereens with America.