Governing Diversity: Reflections on the Doctrine and Tradition of Religious Accommodation in Islam


Dr. Muhammad Mushtaq
Muhammad Riaz Mahmood


The problématique of governing diversity has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention but literature has largely overlooked the challenges appertaining to growing religious diversity in many places. The contemporary power sharing models and multicultural policies which are of a secular nature fall short of the expectations to foster peaceful coexistence in multi-religious societies. The primary concern of this paper is to manifest how religion can help us to lessen faith based violence. It is argued that religious traditions may offer valuable insights to design more inclusive governance. In this backdrop, the current paper evaluates the Islamic values of religious accommodation to gauge how helpful they are for designing inclusive policies in religiously diverse societies. The analysis illustrates that Islamic doctrine contemplates the politics of accommodation and forbearance. The pluralistic approach of Islam offered religious autonomy to non-Muslims in the state of Madinah. The ‘millet system’ established by the Ottoman Empire is widely admired for granting non-territorial autonomy in the matters related to religion, culture, and personal laws to non-Muslims. This display of an Islamic pluralistic approach at different junctures of Muslim history attests the capacity of the Islamic values of accommodation to nurture peaceful coexistence in modern societies. However, it requires a more unbiased and rigorous analysis to convince the global audience in this regard.


How to Cite
Dr. Muhammad Mushtaq, and Muhammad Riaz Mahmood. 2020. “Governing Diversity: Reflections on the Doctrine and Tradition of Religious Accommodation in Islam”. Journal of Islamic Thought and Civilization 10 (2).


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