A good friend of mine, who just happens to be a Pakistani, introduced me to his son, who wrote the following about intolerance. Today, I share it with you.
In the minds of great philosophers and scientists, the seemingly obvious flaws of humanity are understood and controlled through laws.
Thomas Kuhn, for example, saw the seemingly obvious flaws in man’s interpretation of The Structure of the Scientific Revolution; hence he created the idea of paradigms.
Paradigms allowed humans to greater understand the evolutionary process that science takes, as well as the miniscule details we humans overlook.
Although the idea of paradigms were exclusively created for the application to the scientific process, in an altered state, paradigms can be applied to what we cherish most—our lives.
Paradigms allow us peer deep into what makes one’s life work, as well as why one’s life works. Paradigms represent essential laws that every human lives by and abides by to further enhance or create a better future.
Seeing the limitless amount of laws people live by in this day and age; one, such as myself, must find a paradigm which encompasses all the laws that make the lives of my community work.
The paradigm that I choose to live my life with is a paradigm many in foreign countries side with—Islam.
Not taking the word—Islam—for face value, we must look deeper into the meaning of this truly wonderful word. The predecessor of many languages of today—Hebrew, Arabic and Amarana—was Ancient Semitic.
The meaning of Islam in Ancient Semitic was simple yet elegant, tolerance. In fact, tolerance is what inspired so many people of the past to band together to create a new way of living, a new way of interpreting life, a new way by the name of Islam.
In our society we encounter many social and civil injustices, each resulting in a flurry of severe problems. Only if people could see how much they are alike, would people realize to live with their neighbors in complete harmony and avoid the evils and arrogance that, at times, come with our society.
Only if people saw the underlying message of Islam, could we better understand our society as a whole. Bearing in mind the challenge that society is faced with, I saw myself as a crusader who would live with rules, and also, spread the message to the greater populous.
When coming to the United States from Punjab, Pakistan, I was quick to judge all the people who were in the United States. I saw Americans as people who were not caring and people who looked down upon the poorer parts of the world—Pakistan—with an incredibly crass attitude. I was extremely intolerant of my neighbors, the Americans.
In a family, the message of intolerance is something that cannot be nurtured, rather something that must be stripped away before it can do any harm.
My parents saw the fire that was in my eyes, they saw why I was unhappy with Americans; most importantly, they understood what I was going through. On a faithful night, my mother explained to me that if I choose to live a life in which I am intolerant of all Americans and their way of living, I am one who will obviously not prosper, rather fall short into the grips of arrogance.
At the time, the words from my mother’s mouth seemed shocking, but with them came a life-changing message; everyone is different, no one is the same as you, the only way to live life is to live it with diversity—tolerance.
With my first attempt to become tolerant with my counterparts in America, a window in my life gradually opened—a window that still exposes me to the diversity that lies in the world this day.
I started to become a character that would converse with people who were American in background, but also people who were primarily multiracial.
A great awakening happened in my mind; for once I saw what I had missed for so many years—diversity.
What I found in myself and a person of my kind was priceless, what I found in the hearts of different people were something that was equally priceless, but to me, it was astonishing.
A paradigm—a law—which I was not receptive to as well as ignorant of from the start, became the primarily way of living in my life. The law of tolerance was a key factor that opened my life to different people and different cultures; to this day I am feeling the effects of such a great awakening.
To the message of tolerance that lays deep in the philosophies of Islam, I am thankful; for if I had not considered this law of life, I would still be plagued by the evil silent stalker—intolerance.
Requesting your prayers, Hasan