Saturday, 24 September 2011

Remedy for Religious Extremism

The advocates of secularism seek remedy for religious extremism and fanaticism in adopting non-religious approach; they advocate lesser priority for religion in daily life activities. Rather they advocate assimilation of forbidden things into religious faith and practices. In this way so called secular groups in the name of religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence, are actually trying to get away from the Muslims which is so close to their heart and soul. Such a approach to control religious extremism is not only anti-religious but also irrelevant because it does not address the root cause of extremism.
Fanaticism, radicalism and extremism are the terms which have different connotations for different social groups, communities, nations and religious entities. In fact these terms do not have any universally recognized literal definition. That is why any connotation attached with any of these terms may be utter non-sense for a social group which may have its own but different meaning for the same term. If we are able to hammer out a synthesis of various connotations attached with these terms, we may find out that all these terms are synonymous in at least one aspect; all these terms reflect a person’s or community’s tendency to achieve their objectives by violating the standards fixed for such objectives. Similarly religious extremism or fanaticism may be defined as a person’s or community’s tendency to achieve their religious objectives, violating religious standards fixed for achieving such religious objectives. Therefore the simplest remedy to control religious extremism is to introduce religious standards in all activities and efforts launched to achieve any religious objectives. One ‘rawayat’ states that ‘ some companions of our Nabi (saw) wanted to transgress limits delineated by our Nabi’s (saw) Sunnah because of their desire to achieve higher spiritual elevation. One of them intended that he would never get married in the way of good deeds; another one intended that he would be fasting every day;likewise the third one showed extreme intention in the way of good deeds. The objective of all three was to achieve higher spirtual levels through these extreme good deeds. But our Nabi (saw) forbade them from doing so and advised them to abide by his Sunnah. The desire of the companions was to go for extremism in the way of good deeds, but our Nabi (saw) set them right by making them follow his Sunnah. In other words, remedy of religious extremism among Muslims is to follow Islamic standards enshrined in Quran and Sunnah. Quran has declared us ‘Moderate Ummah’. It means in order to achieve religious objectives , the standards fixed by our religion are moderate ones.
Therefore, if we want to remove fanaticism, extremism or radicalism from our society, we have to follow the standards fixed by our religion. No secular approach to curb religious extremism may be effective as long as people have faith in religion; religious extremism emanates from religious faith.The remedy of religious extremism can't be found in secular/anti-regious approach; it has to be found within the religion itself.

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