All In the Name of the Prophets

Would Prophet Mohammed have approved of the beheading of a journalist for the preservation of his honour?


I  ask  myself, would  Bhagwan Ram who thought nothing of  giving up  his royal due in Ayodhya   have  applauded the   zealous assault on the erstwhile Babri mosque?

Would  Jesus  have been  heartened  by the crusades fought in his name?

Would  Prophet Mohammed have   approved of  the beheading  of a journalist  for the preservation of his honour?

I think not.

God  gave us the prophets  for  human betterment.  We made them  sectarian, religious heads.

The  question to ponder is this:  can any coercive  incorporation  of human beings  into sects and denominations ever be compatible with the intentions of prophets?   Can any pursuit of faith that does not issue from free will  ever be either truly  soulful or  sanctified?

The current debate  about the seemingly  antagonistc  claims of  the  right to free expression and the  exalted status of religions  thus seems  a faulty one ab initio.

No prophets  have ever  instructed that calumnies against them  be made occasions for consolidating  rabid h ordes  detailed  to  bolster their standing among men, or to  snatch consent from  the  recalcitrant.

Allegiance to any faith is hardly allegiance that is not freely given, and no denial  of faith, however crudely expressed, can be offensive to  prophets  whose appeal has always been to a voluntary and felt  make-over of the individual soul and psyche.

In our current worldwide contexts,  it would be well for  religious  affcionados  to recognize  that  laicite is as much a faith as any other.  And if votaries of secularism  make no distinctions between  other faiths that  contest  secularism, the assumption of  malice  only  bespeaks an insecurity of beliefs  that feel threatened by other beliefs.

After all,  no prophets of any religion have been  in history spared  by  caricaturists and mavericks  in their bid to assert the freedom of  expression.

Nor is it any fact that  religions are monoliths of belief systems.  Within  Sanatan  and Buddhist    thought reside eloquent traditions of atheism;  within Christianity exist denominations that deny the divinity of Christ; and within the world of Isalm there are  traditions  who remain  opposed to dogma, teaching a non-discriminatory  humanism  that  leaves no one out.

It would be well, therefore,  to recognize that the freedom of thought and expression  is as integral to  religious faiths at their truest and noblest as it is  to  secularists   who advocate separation of church and state even though many of them  may  well retain privately conducted forms of  spiritual  conviction and even  forms of  personal prayer.

And all belief systems  must  remain  rather  hollow  should they  descend to  violence  instead of meeting  annoyances with  reason and  an unshakable  conviction that requires no forced or crude  assertion.

God, we are told, made  man and woman.  Men made religions.  Iti is hardly to be thought that  any  religion can be ultimately  persuasive that does not place  the  principles of humanism above  sectarian dogmas and  ritualistic practices.

Of all things in life,  freedom of expression must be the bed rock  of the faiths we espouse, if the  work of the prophets is truly to be  understood and accomplished.

No slavery is worse than a slavery to a faith that is not willingly adopted and felt  in the bone. And our plurality of faiths, including secularism, demnds that we respect convictions other than our own  as we do  laws  democratically  legislated  that  affect us diversely.



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