Friday June 14, 2024

National tolerance vaporising — political mess

By Senator Rehman Malik
May 06, 2019

Sitara -e -Shujaat, Nishan-e-Imtiaz

Today, I am touching a totally new and unusual topic with the hope that it will give us a reality check. It is unfortunate to note that our values are eroding at the cost of our national unity.

The use of cross derogatory language has created political mess and looks as if both the government and the opposition are on a container performing like joint opposition against the public whereas the public was expecting relief from the government. It is unfortunate that our politicians are not performing their role and ignoring the need of tolerance and behaving like as still running an election campaign. The tolerance and forgiveness is the key to keep the national unity, which we are eroding every passing day.

We have our great guidance from our religion and our Prophet (PBUH). We are in political fish market and this mess is required to be cleared by bringing better laws to be followed in full letter and spirit and without any discrimination. The feeling of revenge in the society has developed intolerance and distrust among the people. The attitude of forgiveness at individual level, collective level, parties' level, religious level and also at national level is diminishing fast. The non-forgiving attitude is breeding hate and division in the society.

Islam teaches forgiveness and tolerance over revenge and according to Quranic teachings, revenge is not an option. Non-forgiveness or revenge only increases the problem. The chapter titled Al-Nahl (Bees) of the Quran gives practical advice on this point. It says "If you want to retaliate, retaliate to the same degree as the injury done to you. But if you are patient, it is better to be so". (Quran 16:126)

In other words, if one is aggrieved and victimised but responds with patience and forgiveness, this behaviour holds more value in the eyes of Allah and may even serve as an atonement for one's own sins. The word "forgiveness or forgiving" is mentioned 91 times in the Holy Quran, of which 72 times are combined with "Merciful"; demonstrating that Allah's name "Al-Ghafoor" does not just mean that He forgives us but He also accepts repentance and pardons our faults/sins and protects us from the consequences and effects of our sins and actions, so we may go to Him without shame or guilt. His perfect forgiveness is truly a sign of His ultimate Mercy for us. In Surah Al-A'raf Allah says "Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant." So, if the creator of this whole universe can forgive us for all our sins then what value do we hold to not forgive our fellow mankind? Islamic values and principles, if followed, would wash away all our distress and agony. It is an irony that although all religions teach tolerance yet we hate each other.

The attitude of tolerance is strengthened only if the element of forgiveness is considered seriously. It is a fact that we, the mankind, form this world and we need to be mindful of the fact that due to our personal recant and ego, the world cannot be peaceful unless we shun off all kinds of anger, hate, jealousy, envy including all kinds of discrimination. Any unjust, loss, humiliation or injury by anyone force the victim to be revengeful, however, the best option with the victim is patience and forgiveness. Non-tolerance shows the element of proudness which is never liked by Allah.

We, in our society gradually can develop the tolerance and can separate grudges from national likes and dislikes. The political parties and religious groups are pitched against each other. These powerful components of the society get driven for their own gains resultantly the national interests are ignored.

We have seen proxy wars through some political parties, sectarian organisations and ethnic groups. We are suffering because of the proxy wars and some incompetent and ill-advised politicians who have greed for power, money and other personal gains. Islam demands for national unity and forgiveness. Let us not mix forgiveness and tolerance with accountability. We must realise our national duties and understand that nobody is above the law. Hence, law teaches us to be accountable and to be a good citizen. Good citizens are blessing for any country and good citizens with fear of law are the waders of the country.

Initially we were divided based on tinny sectarian and we got divided into number of sects and other self-designed drawbacks. We promote differences and resent consensus as a negative feature.

The media sometimes is promoting the negativity and even our politicians, as we see, are fighting with each other on TV screens over non-issue and their debate mostly ends without achieving anything but promoting intolerance in the society and a negative message of intolerance to their political followers. Therefore, we have to play a very responsible role to promote tolerance and forgiveness in our society rather to promote hate and intolerance. Pakistan was achieved with unity and to have own motherland without the seed of hate and grudge for all the coming new generations. We as nation must follow the Quaid's golden principles, 'Unity, Faith, Discipline': Quaid's golden principles to achieve national goals and to make Pakistan a successful and a prosperous country. Indeed unity and tolerance bring happiness and peace, prosperity and progress in a society.

What the present generation will give to their future generation to take this country forward to have prosperous, peaceful and tolerant society unless the present generation creates a culture of tolerance and forgiveness in the country. May Allah give us the strength to be tolerant and believe in others' rights without creating even iota of hate. May God bless our motherland and may peace be with everyone, everywhere and in every heart.

Remember tolerance with pragmatic thoughts and selfless input will make the difference and we must follow this philosophy to be tolerant and forgiving if we want to taste the qualitative difference both at individual and national level.

The writer is Chairman of think tank "global eye" & former interior minister of Pakistan. @Email: rmalik1212@gmail .com

Twitter @Senrehmanmalik, @GlobalEye_GSA, WhatsApp +923325559393