Holier than thou
It seems as if a large portion of the population will have to be decimated so that the adherents of a certain ideology can create an ‘Islamic’ society. The binaries of ‘self’ and the ‘other’ are now frozen, with the ‘other’ being essentially damned and the ‘self’ being essentially blessed – a pompousness which has absolutely no place within a religion which embraces difference, encourages criticism and celebrates diversity.
Islamic history boasts of centuries and centuries of coexistence between people of different faiths. Sadly, historical narratives suffer the same fate as religious texts do: they’re either ignored, or are split apart from their contexts. Dissociated fragments of texts (both religious and historical) are then splashed around to substantiate violence and hatred. For instance, it is not a surprise to note that Quranic verses which enjoin cooperation with Jews and Christians are relatively unknown.
Rimsha Masih’s plight and repeated Shia killings in Hazara are inconceivable in a society which aims to be ‘Islamic’. It must be understood that all kinds of faiths are often determined by geography than human choice. Thus, targeting human beings on the basis of what they believe is the most grotesque exhibition of exaggerated superiority notions.
Most disturbing is the use of Islamic rhetoric to substantiate violence. If the aim is to realise an Islamic society, then the ongoing violence on the grounds of faith retards the process like nothing else. An Islamic society is marked by pluralism, and is incomplete without the peaceful existence of men and women from other religions.
A basic insight into seven centuries of Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula would suffice to prove the claim. From 700-1100 AD, parts of the Iberian Peninsula that were under Muslim rule, known as ‘al-Andalus’, offered the most breathtaking example of coexistence between Muslims, Christians and Jews. Not surprisingly, this unity led to one of the grandest intellectual exchanges the world saw after the Greek civilisation – with many Jewish and Christian canonical works translated into Arabic.
This all-embracing nature of Islam might be in stark contradiction to the popular narrative which explains it as an intolerant faith, baying for the blood of every non-Muslim. However, this is not the case as the public sphere of Islam is one of tolerance and equality. It embodies all the merits of the secular public sphere, without offending any religious sensibility. Thereby, it renders the secular-religious divide completely redundant while embracing every ‘non-believer’ – quelling the alarm bells of religious violence altogether.
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