The Malta Independent on Sunday | 20 June 2021 | Laiq Ahmed Atif
In the world we live in today, one of the predominant disorders and prevalent threats to our social wellbeing is bullying. Bullying, though loudly condemned by every society and every nation of the world, still exists and is a widespread phenomenon. It is such a deadly poison that it exists and flourishes at every level of society, be it school, workplace or social gathering. Bullying is a silent killer that uproots a person and destroys one’s life. If we look into rising suicidal tendencies, we find that bullying is one of the main factors.
In the modern world, rapid advances in technology provide another avenue for cyber-violence or bullying. Cyber bullying has become yet another serious problem because this form of bullying is more widespread, reaching far and wide, and thus negatively affecting individuals and people in their close circles.
Cyber bullying is an act to harm other people through internet, cell phone or other social networking sites. Some people spread lies, write bad comments and often post damaging information or fake news on websites and social mediums.
Comparatively, women and girls face the worst form of bullying. Amidst the Corona-virus pandemic, one might have been wondering whether harassment and bullying is yesterday’s problem. With so many were working from home, the physical intermingling of the sexes at the workplace or educational institutions were not a factor.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. UN Women published a report wherein they stated, ‘Millions of women and girls are using videoconferences frequently, sometimes daily, to work and study. According to diverse media outlets, social media posts and women rights experts, different forms of on-line violence are on the rise including stalking, bullying, sexual harassment, and sex trolling.’
I believe that good education, effective awareness campaigns, proper guidance to tackle such unpleasant experiences and motivation to stay strong and firm in the face of such harassment occurrences are very encouraging and useful means to counter this silent killer known as ‘bullying’.
I truly believe that education and raising awareness is the key to overcoming this serious problem.
People actually do bully each other based on this false notion that they think they’re better than others. This false notion of pride compels people to commit such heinous acts. The Holy Quran has addressed this issue by citing that mankind is created from a male and a female; and has been divided into tribes and nations for the purpose of recognition. They are all equal before God. Only the righteous and benefactors of humanity, not those who inflict pain, are the most honourable. (49:14)
The Holy Quran further elaborates this subject and states: “O ye who believe! Let not one people deride another people, who may be better than they, nor let women deride other women, who may be better than they. And do not slander your own people, nor taunt each other with nicknames.” (49:12)
The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has written on this subject in details and he has highlighted the reasons and remedies to this problem. Arrogance, pride, ignorance and self-projection are among the root causes. Anyone who looks down upon others because he esteems himself more learned, or wiser, or more proficient than others; and utters insulting words and shows them disrespect is not honourable before God. Living humble lives is the way to success. Showing pride by taking others to be inferior is a sort of insult which is based on hatred and it is feared that this hatred might germinate like a seed and then ruin the person.
In society we find people who are very courteous when they meet the wealthy or with those of high positions, but the truth is, noble is he who attends to the poor in humility and consoles them, honours their word and does not utter anything that might offend the person. God says do not call one another with bad names; it is an evil act. He, who offends someone with a bad name, will not pass out of this world, till he finds himself involved in it. Do not take your brothers as inferior.
One of the attributes of God is Sattar – the one who covers up the short-comings of people. Thus, as God overlooks our shortcomings and does not catch us immediately nor does He humiliate us, we also should not be quick in talking about others in respect of things that might cause them humiliation, pain or suffering.
We must become mindful whenever we say anything. We must properly and thoroughly weigh our words and try to understand the consequences of saying something hurtful. The first thing is to either speak or write a good word, otherwise it is better to remain silent rather than hurt someone. Kind and respectful people are those who do good deeds and invite others to goodness and forbid evil deeds.
For indeed, love, respect and true sympathy are the very solutions to counter bullying and serve as an effective weapon and an instrument for the establishment of inclusive and vibrant societies.
The revolutionary and peaceful motto of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community: “Love for all, hatred for none”, is a truly inspiring message and the very antidote of every kind of harassment and bullying.