FROM MAULANA’S DESK
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, born in 1925, in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, is an Islamic spiritual scholar who is well-versed in both classical Islamic learning and modern disciplines. The mission of his life has been the establishment of worldwide peace. He has received the Padma Bhushan, the Demiurgus Peace International Award and Sayyidina Imam Al Hassan Peace award for promoting peace in Muslim societies. He has been called ’Islam’s spiritual ambassador to the world’ and is recognised as one of its most influential Muslims1 . His books have been translated into sixteen languages and are part of university curricula in six countries. He is the founder of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality based in New Delhi.
THE PROBLEM OF INTOLERANCE
I T is said that there is rising intolerance in India. I do not agree with this statement. This is because intolerance is a phenomenon of society, not a phenomenon of India or any particular country.
Intolerance is only an improper name for differences of opinion. Where there are human beings there will be differences and if differences are not managed it will lead to intolerance. In truth, intolerance is a phenomenon of unmanaged differences. Intolerance in itself, is nothing.
In Islam the virtue of sabr or patience is emphasized greatly. According to the Quran, ‘Patience is the most rewardable act.’ (39: 10). Keeping patience is the art of difference management. The principle of life is that if differences are managed, it will lead to development. If differences are not managed, the result will be breakdown. Therefore, instead of reacting to differences one should manage them wisely.
Those who want to do something about the issue of intolerance must
not protest against it in speech or writing, but educate the masses.
1. The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims 2012, Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, Jordan.
The responsibility to adhere to patience falls most on one who might become the victim when differences flare into confrontation. According to the law of nature, resorting to complaint and protest after being inflicted with harm will not prove to be of any use. The right way is that a person should understand the situation, do peaceful planning and sedulously avoid provoking others. From the beginning to the end, life is a struggle. In such a scheme, there is no room to complain about intolerance, rather one should learn to manage the situations that have the potential to take the form of intolerance.
Just talking about intolerance is tantamount to escaping from one’s duty. If at all one wants to play a constructive role as regards this issue, one should educate members of the society.
In life there is no room to complain about intolerance, rather one should learn to
manage the situations that have the potential to take the form of intolerance.
I once happened to meet a social activist who said that previously he was engaged in social work, but had abandoned it because he realized that his social activism was a kind of social critique. Therefore, those who want to do something about the issue of intolerance must not protest against it in speech or writing, but educate the masses.
The government cannot do anything substantial in this matter, because it involves training minds of people so that they can understand that unwanted situations will always remain in society; one should not react against them but rather consider them natural. We have to explain to people the value of tolerance rather than criticizing the government or political authorities for inaction.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
If you want to be successful, try to steer your life
in a rational manner. Don’t give it over to your desires.