Tolerance is Key in Omani Society

Published January 12th, 2022 - 06:46 GMT
Scene from Oman
Scene from Oman (Shutterstock)

Despite being home to various religious sects and tribes, Oman boasts an international reputation of being an ideal model of coexistence and harmony.

The Gulf nation is not only at peace with itself, but also enjoys peaceful relations with countries in and beyond its region.

Oman is famous for its neutrality in regional disputes that have often created deep animosities among countries in the region which at times have turned into full-blown wars.

Tolerance “is rooted (in Oman) since the entry of Islam into the country and the praise of Islam’s prophet for the tolerance of the people of Oman," Sheikh Abdullah Al-Shahri, a preacher at the Sultan Qaboos Higher Center for Culture and Science, told Anadolu Agency.

He noted that tolerance has succeeded in “preserving” the Omani society.

“Tolerance is not weakness or cowardice, and it is not to bow to the will of others,” the scholar said. “But to me, it means not to reject the other or ignore him, and if I disagree with him it does not mean I have to attack him."

He recalled the history of the first delegate of Prophet Muhammad tasked with spreading the message of Islam to the Omanis.

“The Omanis were tolerant,” Al-Shahri said. “They took the message but did not accept it immediately. They took days to study it before eventually entering into the fold of Islam voluntarily."

Al-Shahri said the trait of tolerance and understanding that characterized the Omani society was beneficial to it at all levels, giving the example of the reaching of Omanis to China more than a thousand years ago for commercial purposes, and the Chinese fascination with the morals of the Omanis.

Model of coexistence

Al-Shahri describes Oman as “the most beautiful model of coexistence throughout history”, a virtue he said has been embedded within the Omani society for thousands of years.

He said Islamic teachings are key for Omanis to consolidate and maintain this noble culture.

“We as Muslims are commanded to be tolerant and coexist peacefully with each other,” the preacher said. “The Qur’anic description is clear that believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islam)".

While noting that the Omani society is historically crowded with lineages, races, societies, regions, and different sects, he said these differences have “neither been a curse nor a problem because they are a natural translation of the human mind.”

Al-Shahri believes that the secret behind the prevalence of coexistence among diverse sects in Oman is that people do not ask each other about the sect the other subscribes to.

"A person is not asked about his sect, ideology, or the likes,” he said. “He is only seen as a human being."

Challenges

Al-Shahri considers that the post-modern era is full of great problems and challenges, compared to the pre-modern era.

“At the time (pre-modern era), it was easy for someone to retain his nature, characteristics, and qualities,” he said. But he contends many societies have failed to retain values of tolerance and coexistence due to post-modernism.

He attributes the Omani society’s success in maintaining the character of tolerance and coexistence to “the nature of Omani society and the presence of good knowledge of Islamic law, as scholars have a strong understanding of the overall purposes of Sharia, which focuses on the meaning of brotherhood and compassion not only among Muslims but with all humanity.”

He appreciated the efforts of Islamic scholars in Oman for preoccupying themselves with "the subject of tolerance and coexistence, the relationship between humans and that of a Muslim to his Muslim brother," despite the prevalent confusion witnessed in other parts of the Islamic world.

Al-Shahri also appreciated the Omani culture of kindness and compassion which many Omanis invoke from sharing happy moments such as marriages to collectively dealing with calamities such as diseases.

This article is adapted from its original source 


© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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