In Surah 5:48 there is a statement which is often interpreted as allowing other people to have their faiths because they can lead to God as well. However, if this is so then many non-Muslims state that why should they follow the Qur’an and Islam if they can simply follow their own faiths?
Could you comment?
The referred interpretation of the cited verse is not very accurate. The related portion of the verse reads as:
Had God pleased, He could have made you one community, but [He did not do so] to test you in what he has bestowed upon you. Therefore, [do not fret over those who reject your message and] strive hard to take lead in virtue. [Be mindful of the fact that ultimately,] your return shall be to your Lord and then shall He inform you [and pronounce His judgment] about the things in which you differed. (Al-Maidah 5: 48)
If you look closely at the referred verse, it says that if God had wanted, He could have guided all humanity to one path and resolved all differences among them. However, this would effectively have meant that man be forced into submission. This would have meant that the freedom of choice – in accepting or rejecting the truth or in doing good or bad deeds – be taken away from man. However, because God wanted to test man by bestowing upon him the freedom to do good or bad and to choose between right and wrong, He, therefore, did not force him into submission. It is the result of this freedom that God has bestowed upon man that some people accept the truth while others are allowed to become adversaries to it. Thus, in this context, the believers are directed to ignore those who are still persistent in their rejection even after the truth has become apparent to them.It has been explained in many places in this website that it is only through divine revelation the messengers of God find out whether message has become clear to the addressees or not .The present day believers should only concentrate on taking lead in doing good deeds and ensuring that the message of Quran has reached the entire humanity. We, in the present time, can never know whether our addressees have understood the message of Quran or not.
Finally, the believers are reminded of the fact that if God has bestowed man with freedom in a particular sphere of his life, which results in the existence of differences among them, it does not mean that God is indifferent towards the good and the bad. Soon shall He gather all humanity and then pass His judgment about the differences that existed among them. On that day, those who submitted to the truth shall be rewarded for their good behaviour, while those who knowingly rejected the truth shall be punished fittingly.