In the wake of so many untoward happenings in the world a person is compelled to think about the root cause of all the unrest and disharmony.
The irony is that those who talk about peace and freedom are completely ignorant of the basic definition of the terms. And, those who act in the name of religious extremism do not even know the basics of Faith.
These two groups of people act according to their own set standards, whims and fancies.
They do not follow any rule or regulation either of the society or of their Faith.
Here an example would be helpful in explaining what chaos they have created.
A student takes admission in a college. He is now enrolled in the college and represents that institution. He is supposed to follow the methodology of the college, its rules and regulations as a student. But he prefers to roam around and refuse to accept any of the norms of the college. Neither does he study, respect the teachers nor does he go out of the college and continues to call himself the student wherever he goes.
What do you think should be done about such a student? Would the authorities of that college tolerate such a behaviour? Wouldn't it affect the other students there? Would not the name of that college get tarnished? The college will now disown the student and turn him out and refuse to accept him as their part. They will say that this particular bad student does not represent the whole of us. They will try to inform the society about their rules and regulations and tell them that such students are not supposed to continue with such a behaviour and we do not keep them in the premises to save the honour and prestige of the school.
Now, those belonging to a certain Faith, when they tarnish the image of their own Faith by doing exactly the opposite of what their Faith teaches, do you think the members of their Faith will tolerate that? No.
But still the root of the problem remains.
There are many different Faiths on this earth. How many do you think practice their Faith very religiously? There have always been a certain number of people in each community that do exactly the opposite of what they should be doing. Moreover, many of the followers of various religions do not even know what their religion actually teaches!
How many Hindus do you think know what their holy books teach? How many of them follow it properly? Their own books tell that God has no image but they are so famous for worshipping idols!
The most popular amongst all the Hindu scriptures is the Bhagavad Gita.
Consider the following verse from the Gita:
"Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures."
[Bhagavad Gita 7:20]
Vedas are considered the most sacred of all the Hindu scriptures. There are four principal Vedas: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda. In Yajurveda the following verse says:
"There is no image of Him."
Likewise in other religions like Christianity and Judaism the followers of that Faith do not read, understand or implement the teachings in their life.
It is the same with Islam. Islam has basically five pillars which comprise of Shahadah (Declaration of Faith), Salaah (5 daily Prayers; which are a duty and a must for the Muslims), Fasting, Zakaat (the poor's due which is also a must for the Muslims who are financially capable) and Hajj (the once in a lifetime pilgrimage to the sacred House of Allah in Makkah).
All these tenets of Islam are its pillars without any of these the Faith will dwindle and might just collapse. According to the authentic traditions of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, if a person abandons prayers it is as if he is out of the fold of Islam.
“Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his neglect of the prayer.” (Narrated by Muslim in from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)).
The point therefore sums up to clarify that in every religion and every community there are those who rebel, who do not abide by the laws, who do not take their stand seriously. Does this mean that now based upon the action of those few we are going to blame the entire community, the entire race and the entire Faith and torture the others who do not even dream of going against their Faith at least in the basic and fundamental values?
As for freedom...
No one in the society can claim the freedom to hurt any one especially when he or she knows that it is something held sacred and great in the eyes of the person.
Why people want to make fun of others? Why do they try to incur and invoke hatred and disrespect? What do they gain out of mocking and degrading someone about whom even the non-believers have attested that he was the most kind and most forgiving person, a great leader and a preacher of peace and mercy?!
An impressive tribute to Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him is in the very well written work of Michael H. Hart, "The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History." He states that the most influential person in all history was Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, with Jesus second. Examine his actual words:
"My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level."
[Michael H. Hart, THE 100: A RANKING OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY, New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc., 1978, page. 33.]
No one can justify killings and bloodshed and no one should justify the freedom to tarnish the image of a personality, who is not an ordinary one but a Prophet most revered and loved by his Ummah, either.
When people will understand that freedom does come with some limits and that Islam is about peace and forgiveness, kindness and guidance only then we can hope to see some peace around. There is no room for extremism in Islam: