Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Dr A Q Khan
Given what is happening in our country at this time, I would like to deliberate here on the Islamic values of tolerance and forgiveness. In simple words, tolerance is the ability, willingness and capacity to put up with something with which one disagrees, or which one dislikes, without interfering or attempting to forcibly change it. This does not mean we should not attempt trying to change things that are wrong. It simply means attempting to bring about that change without violence and keeping in mind that other people's ideas may be different to ours. Compromise plays a large role in tolerance. Forgiveness is simply excusing an offence/mistake and avoiding venting anger towards the person/institution causing the event. Since these two virtues are cardinal principles in Islam that seem to have totally vanished from society, I feel that they should be elaborated upon.
Not a day goes by in which newspapers are not full of horrible stories and we are confronted with gory scenes on TV. What you read and/or see is often perpetrated in the name of Islam. Cutting off noses, throwing acid on women, honour killings, whipping in public etc are horrible events that send chills down our spines. Just in the last three months, 72 people, mostly women, have been burnt alive! These are despicable crimes that need condemnation. All these acts are carried out by those who claim to be Muslims, while in actual fact they are neither good Muslims, nor should they be pardoned. The Holy Quran is full of warnings and instructions from Allah to desist from wrongdoing and to show love and affection towards others. For example: "Think not that Allah does not heed the deeds of those who do wrong. He but gives them respite against a Day when their eyes will fixedly stare in horror". (Surah Ibrahim) "No doubt that the chastisement of Allah is very severe and painful and Allah knows all wrong-doers. Allah's curse is on them and a permanent punishment". (Surah Tauba)
Islam has put a lot of emphasis on love, affection, tolerance and forgiveness. (Editor's note: not really) In the Holy Quran and in the sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) there is an abundance of such instructions and advice. This behaviour does not depend upon our free will, but is an edict of Islam – i.e. it is intrinsic in the behaviour of a true Muslim. Here are some relevant Ahadiths.