Islam is the religion of peace, which is the sole accepted religion in sight of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Almighty. Despite this concrete fact, Islam realizes that there are plural of religions on earth as religion is not to be and can never be forced upon an individual against their will. No Muslim have steadfastly upheld the level of tolerance that the Prophet of Islam, Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) had portrayed in his era towards minorities yet the clear elicitation of tolerance is vivid from the Aayah (Verse) of Quraan for the Muslims that:

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ [الكافرون: 6]

“For you is your faith, and for me, my faith.” (Al-Kaafiroon 109: 6)

Islam has been branded with the label of coercive plus conservative religion and the reason is the pundits and fanatics who have grotesquely rendered the image of Islam. Historians especially the Orientals had presented the picture of Muslims as holding Quraan in one hand and sword in another. Western media has marked Islam as intolerant towards other faiths, though the entire life of Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) is a paradigm in front of all; where he was living in the time when rest of the religions like Christians, Zoroastrians, polytheists and Jews were freely pracrticing their own religions. In spite this all it clearly has stated in Quraan that no compulsion is upon any other faith-bearing person:

لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَدْ تَبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَى لَا انْفِصَامَ لَهَا وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ [البقرة: 256]

“There is no compulsion in (acceptance of) Faith. The correct way has become distinct from the erroneous. Now, whoever rejects the Taghoot (the Rebel, the Satan) and believes in Allah has a firm grasp on the strongest ring that never breaks. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (Al-Baqarah 2:256)

Islam Refute Forceful Conversion to Its Dogmas
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Almighty, has clearly outlined the duties and responsibilities of His messengers and thereupon no one is ever allowed to forcefully implying religion on another. The essence of this can be easily gauged in the Aayah of Quraan in which Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) has marked the duties of His messengers as:

مَا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا تَكْتُمُونَ [المائدة: 99]

“Not upon the Messenger is [responsibility] except to convey. Allah knows what you disclose and what you conceal.” (Maaidah 5:99)

The Prophet and Tolerance
The whole persona of the Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) exemplifies the significance of tolerance towards other minorities. Once the people asked Prophet Hahdrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) that why Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) did not inflict hardships and forcefully demolish the false Gods to prevail one true religion. Upon this Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) sent the following Aayah of Quraan:

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا عَبَدْنَا مِنْ دُونِهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ نَحْنُ وَلَا آبَاؤُنَا وَلَا حَرَّمْنَا مِنْ دُونِهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ كَذَلِكَ فَعَلَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ فَهَلْ عَلَى الرُّسُلِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ [النحل: 35]

“Those practice polytheism said: ‘If Allah had so willed, we would have not worshipped anything other than Him – neither we nor our forefathers – nor would we have made anything unlawful without (a command from) Him. Similar was the reaction of those who were before them. Therefore, the messengers‘obligation is no more than to convey the message clearly.” (An-Nahl 16:35)

Probe the complete life of Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) and the non-believers would extract that Islam is the religion of forbearance. Jews were allowed to practice their faith and to recite Torah as they were having their own school of learning with the name of Bait-ul-Midras. Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) had advised his emissaries not to harm or demolish other faith’s institutions.

The story of Najran Christian preacher is one such epitome of learning from the Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam)’s practices, which reflects the tolerance towards other creeds. In the historic book, the story has been quoted as:
“The Prophet received a delegation of sixty Christians from the region of Najran, then a part of Yemen, at his mosque. When the time for their prayer came, they faced the direction of east and prayed. The Prophet ordered that they be left in their state and not harmed.”

Maltreatment With Non Muslims
Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) has strictly warned his followers from maltreatment with non-Muslims. In Holy Quraan, even Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says that killing an innocent person (no distinction of religion implies here) is likely to slain mankind entirely.

أَنَّهُ مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا [المائدة: 32]

“…..whoever kills a person not in retaliation for a person killed, nor (as a punishment) for spreading disorder on the earth, is as if he has killed the whole of humankind, and whoever saves the life of a person is as if he has saved the life of the whole of humankind.” (Al-Maaidah 5:32)

“Beware! Whoever is cruel and harsh to a non-Muslim minority, curtailing their rights, overburdening them, or stealing from them, I will complain [to God].” (Abu Daawood)

The Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) was lenient and kind enough towards all people and in this regard, he himself let alone was the perfect example until eternity. He commanded his followers as:

وَقُلْ لِعِبَادِي يَقُولُوا الَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ يَنْزَغُ بَيْنَهُمْ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ كَانَ لِلْإِنْسَانِ عَدُوًّا مُبِينًا [الإسراء: 53]

“Tell My servants that they should speak that which is best. Surely, Satan creates discord among them. Indeed, Satan is an open enemy to mankind.” (Al-Israa 17:53)

The Bedouin story who urinated in the Masjid shed light on the facts that how tolerant Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) was towards the non-believers as narrated in Hadeeth: “A desert Arab came and stood up and began to urinate in the Masjid. The Sahaabah (Companions) of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: “Stop, stop.”

But Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: “Do not interrupt him; leave him alone.”

They left him alone, and when he finished urinating, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) called him and said to him: “These Masjids are not the places meant for urine and filth, but are only for the remembrance of Allah.” (Muslim)

Aforementioned are the excerpts that demonstrate the tolerance of religions by the Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) and those who indiscriminately describe his followers, the Muslims, as aggressively intolerant believers should scrutinize the life of Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam), which is an apparent message to all the people that he was the merciful who was sent down as portal of guidance for all as stated:

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ [الأعراف: 158]

“O Prophet Muhammad! Say: ‘O mankind! I am a messenger of Allah (sent) to you all, from the One to whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. (Al-A”raaf 7:158)