28.2 C
City of Banjul
Monday, September 25, 2023

Religious extremism and the ideal of tolerance


The truth remains that when not curtailed within the proper bounds, religion will only increase violence and recklessness. So there must be a concerted effort from all walks of life to realise the universal ideals of peace, love and tolerance to readjust and expose the theological nonsense that groups like Boko Haram continue to propel.


The kidnappings of girls at the altar of an argument that Western education is unlawful is one of the greatest fallacies to ever permeate the Islamic discourse. This religion is recognised before anything for its emphasis on seeking and imparting knowledge. The Holy Prophet encouraged his followers to seek knowledge as far as China, while reminding them that the best among them is the one who seeks knowledge and disseminates it. 


Among the hallmark tributes paid to the Islamic civilisation is the fact that it is one of the most tolerant religions and this fact is strengthened by numerous historical evidences, within the Prophetic narrations and the live story of the companions. The culmination of prophetic tolerance was seen in his mercy towards those who disbelieve in him and tormented him, yet he forgave them and lived side by side with them, even though he has the power to exact retribution.


Most faiths and ideologies desire the good of all creatures – even those seemingly violent ideologies promote violence as a means to a good end. Of course the end cannot justify such evil means, but it illustrates the fact that men are by nature lovers of good. Tolerance is a virtue that is taught in all the scriptures of all the major religions of the world. So we can safely say the issue of intolerance merely stems from men trying to use religion in their evil machinations to further their own selfish interests. 


At the root of this problem is of course the need for a sound interpretation of religious text. Most of the people going on to become such extremists and intolerant people have their so-called proofs from the scriptures of the religions they follow. So it becomes a binding duty upon the scholars of those traditions to rise and intellectually refute those narrow-minded interpretations of the classical teachings. Islam, for example, has recently encountered these type of evil scholars who use the Qur’an and the sunnah to justify their perverted goals. The current movement that defines the landscape of the Islamic scholarly elites is very weak and senile. They see these demons growing stronger everyday but do very little to refute it and bring back the great teachings that characterise the path of Prophet Muhammad.


The intellectuals, religious scholars and politicians are called upon to promote the spirit of tolerance in this vexed world fraught with violence. The drive to development and lasting peace would only be a romantic novelty if we don’t promote this one ideal. The foundations of a civilised society rest upon the initiative of diversification embedded in a harmonious set-up, and this is not possible without a tolerance.


We must be reminded that every society that survived and made it to the threshold of an enduring civilisation did so through allowing divergent views. With the current agitations the world over ranging from religious intolerance to political bigotry, it’s only necessary to remind ourselves of the imperative necessity of this virtue.


Join The Conversation
- Advertisment -spot_img