EVERY TIME when I learn something new, I find out the fact that previously, I knew nothing. I always realize that there are so much informations that I didn’t know before, and maybe, there are so much more that I don’t know or I wouldn’t know. My life is limited, but science and information is always there, and–in fact–it develops, grows, and expands, over time.
Then I pondered.
People are judgmental and discriminatory because they only have one world view. They listen to specific teachers, read specific books, watch certain news channels, attend the same mosque, church, or social group. They have a tendency to listen to the same lecturers, or are part of a social circle with people who only share their ideals. They close their mind for other’s opinion. People who disagree with them are debated and disregarded. They are unwilling to learn about new ideas, meet different people and appreciate different ideals, even if they disagree, and will remain faithful to their own. Sadly, many just don’t wanna know.
I’ve met people like this, many are good people, but unable to empathise, because they’re limited in their outlook.
I used to be this kind of person, who only accepted what I knew, before then I realized that I shouldn’t confine my viewpoint. Although the earth is only a speck of blue dust in the universe, it is still too vast to be seen from only one dimension. And, even though humans are only puddles of blood, they are still too complex to be judged arbitrarily.
We have to be willing to expand our minds. This doesn’t mean a person accepts everything and anything, rather, is willing to learn, expand, and grow, because they understand the world is a huge place, and it cannot be understood through a limited lens.
Through studying the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) we find him to be open-minded, accepting, and just. The Prophet regularly engaged with people of colour, different faiths and status. The way the Prophet viewed and learned from the Qur’an was very different to how many people view it, through it the Prophet learnt to appreciate and respect different faiths, even though he disagreed with them.
It was for this reason the Prophet engaged with Negus, the Christian King, and gave the Jews in Medina safety, and safe places of worship–a sunnah upheld by many believers around the world. However, whether Muslim or not, discrimination, racism and bigotry exists, and for the believer–understanding the Prophetic legacy, the reasons for inclusion, and exclusion, specific and general application leads to fairness and tolerance.
An Islamic scholar, Yassir Fazaga, related the story of a visiting lecturer who was invited to give a talk, however, much to the dismay of the organisers only a handful attended. The scholar, a wise man of faith was fully appreciative of their concerns and worries. He turned and advised them:
“Do not be disappointed with your numbers, we are not looking for numbers among our faith, rather we are looking for the faithful, and just among our numbers.”
Our aim is to be the faithful, the just–to God, and the truth.
(Being more open to the choices of others doesn’t mean we agree with them, and accepting their presence doesn’t mean we will go along to be like them. If we are strong, we will be loyal to our choices.)