Tolerance is a very interesting phenomenon to experience and it is very funny to live. Tolerance, politically speaking, is very valuable and beneficial for it presents what is best in people to contribute to building productive societies. It is not a problem in religions, nor a problem with non belief, it is a problem with application.
The more we live tolerance, the more our lives interesting will become. Therefore, the Islamic Middle East is not an exception and can be a pioneer still in propagating tolerance. the problem neither lies in specific features of Islamic culture and religion nor in other religions or non belief, but rather in the application and interpretation of such high humanisitic values.
Based on humanistic approach, tolerance produces the most interesting moments in life. Tolerance does not mean losing values but adding to them. It does not mean letting traditions and values fade away but rather enriching them.
Intolerance has never persisted throughout our history and it will never do. Tolerance on the other hand, is not confrontational but cooperative. President of Egypt Al-Sisi, despite his dictatorial overtake of power in Egypt, has said few significant words in the path of an Islamic reformation. While he emphasises his words to exclude his Muslim Brotherhood rivals, whom he ousted from power and stuffed into prison, these words are sadly true, too. Thus, these words stress tolerance and intolerance dependent on how we read them. He called it an “Islamic revolution”. The whole world should follow such an initiative. It is our world and we, perhaps, would like to enjoy it. Through tolerance, we all can achieve political, economic and social development and in the direction any community wishes.
In the following I leave you with a few words the Egyptian president. They can be tried out but in a structured and well-informed manner.
“I am referring here to the religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!
the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.” Instead, generally they deny that Muslims have done killed or destroyed, or done anything whatsoever that should cause any anxiety for anyone — or blame non-Muslims for the violence, and claim that Muslims were only responding to extreme provocation.
That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!”
“I am not saying ‘religion’ but ‘thinking”
Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!
I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.
All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it it from a more enlightened perspective.
I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”
This is an amazing start and we suggest that we, not only follow suit, but be pioneers in revolutionising the religious thinking and not only in the Middle East but in the whole wrold. Tolerance is the only policy that holds, by which societies can peacefully develop and flourish.
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