In this age, when certain powers are engaged in destroying peace, when ill-feelings against each other are being sparked unnecessarily and walls of hatred and intolerance are being erected, the objective of establishing (creating) peace, love, affection, harmony and tolerance is all the more important.
On 16th November 1995, UNESCO’s Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. It is clear, respectful and appreciative of the rich variety of cultures, traditions, forms of expression and ways of being human. It is a Declaration of promotion of tolerance, live and let others live, demolishing walls of hatred, and building bridges of peace and tolerance. The Declaration respects rights of human beings and their freedom. The world is full of diversity and now when the world has become the global village, it is only tolerance that can ensure the survival and acceptance of mixed communities in every region of the globe.
Accordingly to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s and an online dictionary the word “tolerance” means; “(1).The willingness to accept or tolerate sb/sth, especially opinions or behaviour that you may not agree with, or people who are not like you. (2) A fair, objective and permissive attitude towards those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc. differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.”
According to online Wikipedia, “Toleration and tolerance are terms used in social, cultural and religious contexts to describe attitudes which are “tolerant” (or moderately respectful) of practices or group memberships that may be disapproved of by those in the majority. In practice, “tolerance” indicates support for practices that prohibit ethnic and religious discrimination. Conversely, ‘intolerance’ may be used to refer to the discriminatory practices sought to be prohibited.”
Tolerance is a great moral value which encourages accepting diversity in life. Also religions take note of diversity in the universe and stress the useful purpose of diversity in races, colours, languages, cultures and wealth in human social order and describes these diversities as signs of God for those who reflect and posses knowledge.
Actually if we reflect we will find that human progress in life is closely linked with the diversity in attributes in various civilizations and cultures. Sameness would not have propelled us into action of greater achievements and challenges. Moreover, it is not impossible to conceive that if each one of us would have been alike in culture, language, colour etc., this world would have been very boring, monotonous and unspectacular. There would have been no particular urge to learn from one another and develop in various facets of life. It is only the diversity in life which makes this world colourful, wonderful and propels people towards higher goals and objectives. These diversities can be beneficial with promotion of tolerance, respect and harmony. As it is said love creates love; the same way tolerance does create tolerance.
There is no religion in the world – be it Islam, or Christianity, or Hinduism or for that matter any other faith – that teaches intolerance or hatred. All the religions have set for society rules of love, mercy, forgiveness, justice, patience, endurance and tolerance. These are immutable laws framed by a Being, Who knows the hidden and the future and Who has based them on truth and wisdom. We believe that God sent His Messengers to their respective people with moral and spiritual guidance so as to teach man tolerance, respect, and appreciation of diversity and how to live at peace with other people.
Today, it is time to realize the need of tolerance and to express feeling of love and affection and to renew ties of brotherhood and kinship so that we can try to establish peace in our societies in the best possible manner.
Laiq Ahmed Atif
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta