The religion of tolerance?


Farman Nawaz

 

Today we have compelled the non-Muslims and even Muslims to ask “what does Islam teach?” We claim that Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance. But I am afraid that nowadays we will not be able to prove Islam as religion of tolerance. I am not worried about finding examples of religious tolerance from the history of Islam but the present behavior of Pakistani Muslims will depict Islam as religion of extremism and fanaticism. The credit of historical image of tolerant Islam goes to the Muslims of that particular era. We are responsible only for the present image of Islam. Praising the tolerant behavior of our forefathers will not help us to prove the present Pakistani version of Islam as religion of tolerance.

According to Shah Wali Ullah “The way people live and behave with one another depends on their religious ideas. Also their religion depends on people being good, just, and honest towards each other in society”. This opinion of Shah Wali Ullah clarifies that the repute of any religion also depends on the behavior of its people. Now we must realize that our extremist temperament will only defame our own religion. The non-Muslims do not have spare time to study our history and religious books to get the clear picture of Islam but they can straightforwardly judge Islam by studding our character and temperament.

I have tried my best to find some events in Pakistan’s history especially since Jihadi Era, which we can present as an evidence to prove our religion as religion of peace and tolerance. But I couldn’t. The Pakistani society and especially the religious groups never tried to portray Islam as a role model of peace, patience, progressiveness, forbearance, mercy, open-mindedness, self-control and tolerance. As a nation we have represented Islam as a religion of extremists and fanatics. For this we will repent on the Judgment Day.

Is this tolerance that few millions frightened non-Muslims are living with us? If permitting non-Muslims to live in our society is tolerance then Western societies are more tolerant than our Pakistani Islamic society, where Muslims are not only freely living but also allowed to influence the legislative processes of those liberal and secular societies. But on the other hand Pakistan is the only Muslim country where according to blasphemy law the minimum punishment is sentencing the offender to death and no one is allowed to complain about that manmade law. Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) pardoned even the nastiest enemies of Islam but here in Pakistan we are stubborn to punish a woman who is consistently asking for pardon. I request my Muslims brothers and sisters that fairly we must ask ourselves whether really we want to kill Asia Masih for the sake of Islam and to terrify the people to restrain from doing this heinous act or just we want to tell the world that we Pakistani Muslims are so merciless that even we do not forgive those who cry out for pardon. What message we are sending to the non-Muslim world?

Religious sections are of the opinion that Asia Masih is begging for pardon only to save her life, she is not sorry for her action. Here let me remind you the event of a companion of our Holy prophet. A companion of the Holly Prophet was fighting with an infidel. The infidel realized that soon he would be killed so he accepted Islam by saying the Kalma loudly. Still the companion killed him. It is said that our Holly Prophet resented at this act of the companion because the infidel apparently accepted Islam “Peace”. But over here in Pakistan why we have forgotten this act of our Holly prophet. Religious sections are of the opinion that forgiving Asia Masih will encourage others to insult our religion and our Holly Prophet.

However, why we are afraid that someone will disgrace our prophet. Our Holly Prophet always helped the poor, needy, and innocent. He fought against the brutality, ignorance, injustice, prejudice, inequality, and discrimination. He gave the message of Islam “Peace” to the world. He signed the agreement of Medina and explained to the world the Islamic definition of a nation. In Medina, Islam for the first time announced its principle for unity of humanity. The Muslims, Jews, Christians, and infidels of Medina were bounded into one nation called” Umet-e-Wahida”. Now how someone can dare to insult such a tolerant person of the history?  But the fact is that we never presented this image of our prophet.

We are not following the golden principles of Islam. We are responsible for the extremist image of Islam. Basically our extremist nature is compelling the non-Muslims and even the Muslims to think negatively about Islam. According to the Holly Quran, if someone’s claim is true so they must come forward with arguments. Islam wants to create the environment of debate, tolerance, and humanity. But unfortunately we are trying to present Islam as the religion of extremism, fundamentalism and fanaticism.

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