Accepting the Differences
The term “Acceptance”
Acceptance is a widely used term, especially when it comes to learning soft skills. Acceptance is a skill that enables a person to feel free of the guilt, anger and discomfort. It makes us aware that there are certain things which cannot be changed according to our will and instead of making a mess out of it, one can simply accept the reality and move forward with life. Now-a-days acceptance is acknowledged as one of the key ingredients in personal development and mental growth. But it is not a concept that can be confined to one’s own personality alone. It is something that, if practiced on a community level, lays the foundation of a sensible and harmonious society.
Humans are diverse. This diversity lies deep in our history, culture, language or beliefs. It is impossible to attain a society based on equal and identical people. A single society can give birth to intellects, scholars, philosophers as well as thieves, murderers, terrorists. It is so because of the various independent factors which form the minds and characteristics of the people. While rules might regulate the behavior of the people in their best favor, they simply cannot change the mindset, beliefs, culture or history of the people in a uniform pattern.
There are more than 7 billion people in the world with thousands of ethnicities, races and hundreds of religions, each person with different ideals of politics, community and life. And there is no standard in the world that might term the beliefs of one person as right and the other as wrong. Because belief or faith is a state of mind and it can only be influenced but cannot be forced. A theist might argue with an atheist and win the argument but he simply cannot force someone to believe in a deity when the other person is not ready to change his state of mind.
It has been observed that the difference of beliefs have laid the basis of many great wars in the past. Thanks to the ultra-modern and ultra-disastrous warfare techniques of today, wars have become a story of the past and the world is moving towards war-avoidance thus laying the foundation of accepting the differences among each other. This idea of acceptance becomes eminent when peace is required within a state, a community or a person’s own mind.
Differences within Pakistan
Currently, our country is facing a lot of ethnic and religious crisis within. And the sole reason behind such crisis is the rigidity of the minds of people who believe in resisting and fighting the differences instead of accepting them. It is quite obvious that one simply cannot impose beliefs on others. One can argue what he finds wrong but he cannot declare the other person wrong based on his personal judgment. Our people are unwilling to accept the differences. They are prone to extremism and radicalism resulting in violation of human rights at community level. And when such violation is neglected by the governments it results in insurgency and rebels.
Pakistan is facing serious issues regarding the difference of religious sects and ethnicity. One fact is obvious. NOBODY wants to change his/her sect unless he/she actually feels like changing. Calling names, abusing and declaring others are WRONG is a direct and subjective attack over that person who responds in the same violent way creating mishaps and conflicts. In our country a Sunni would call a Shia as misguided and vice versa. While the difference between the religious ideologies might take ages to vanish, a sure way to get people safely out of the trouble is teaching them the old golden rule which made it possible for the Muslims and Hindus survive many years together. It is the rule of “Acceptance”.
Dealing with Diversity
The ideal way to deal with the differences is to accept them first. Because when a person accepts that different people have different state of mind, he becomes compassionate and deals with cautiousness. This slight change of behavior can become a golden rule of progress for societies with diverse people.
One can never justify violence unless it is his only defense. When people are projected to violence on the basis of their faith they become prone to ferocity and it creates a chain reaction of violence resulting into more violence. And thus diversity which is the beauty of humans becomes the ultimate source of conflict. It is ideal to teach students from the very basic level about acceptance and tolerance. Because it is the training in the early ages that outlines our behaviors when we grow up. A compassionate atmosphere is the key to progress.
Religion and Acceptance
It is quite obvious that a person/society/state can achieve peace only when they start practicing the art of acceptance, not only within themselves but also around them. And it is the sole way to reach the highest degree of human integration. It is clearly mentioned in the Quran as well that
“There is no compulsion in Deen”
Verse 256 – Chapter 02 – Al Quran
If religion, the most emotional integration of humankind and our guideline as Muslims favors acceptance and no compulsion then we have no chance of inflicting violence upon others as a tool for their (so called) correction. In order to move forward we have to accept people as different and diverse and stop being the police men of the world.