It is said that a journalist asked the spiritual leader of Tibet, ‘the Dalai Lama’, what would his reaction be if someone threw a Buddhist holy book into the sewer? The Dalai Lama replied that the first thing he would do was contact a plumber to get the book out so that the sewers will not break down.
He added: It is possible for a person to blow up a statue of Buddha, burn down a Buddhist temple or kill Buddhist monks and nuns, but I will never allow those who do so to drag us to portray Buddhism as a violent religion.
It is possible to throw a Bible in the toilet, but you will never be able to throw tolerance, peace or love in the toilet.
The book is not the religion nor the statue or the temple. These are the containers of religion not the religion itself that cannot be affected by such behavior. We can print more books, build bigger temples, train more monks and nuns, but when we lose our love and respect for others and ourselves and replace those feelings with violence, it is only then that souls will be lost, and our religion and morals will be lost and will never be able to get back what we have lost.
The words of the Dalai Lama reminded me of the banners carried by Muslim protesters in Europe, on which they wrote: We will cut off the head of everyone who accuses our religion of violence.
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In a tweet by the Saudi novelist Turki Al-Hamad, he raised questions related to our urgent need to revise heritage and religious texts because this is not possible to keep them as they are in all times and places. We, as Arab and Muslim peoples in particular, live in seas of contradiction between what modern life demands from the individual, and what texts impose on them according to their understanding of them.
That was required, natural and acceptable only a hundred years ago, but after more than a thousand years ago, such heritage and texts have become strange or impractical and absolutely not applicable, and with this we insist, on the surface only to stick to and we know more than others that the truth is completely different, and the examples are countless.
The demand to adhere to these matters, even if only verbally, do not come out of conviction, but out of fear that adjusting them will lead to the modification of others, and this insistence on something illogical is what makes us continue to live in our contradictions and confusion.
Al-Hamad talked about the crisis raised by the abusive drawings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in France and called for criticism of the heritage that provided the living material for these drawings, chiefly Sahih Al-Bukhari, as he put it.
He did not find anyone who responded to him except for his accusation of plotting against Islam, which we offended if we believed that a tweet or a personal stance could affect Islam or a billion of its followers, bearing in mind that the question of the accuracy of some of what was mentioned by Al-Bukhari was a topic that was discussed and raised by imams and religious sheikhs from Al-Azhar, Morocco, Tunisia, and many others.
Criticism of such matters should not be considered, in any way contempt for religion. Rather, it is a kind of constructive criticism, for words that are not considered heavenly revealed nor those who wrote them are infallible.
The reverence of Al-Bukhari has become a tiring psychological issue for many, especially with the insistence on adhering to the culture of conveying and submitting them to the mind, in an age that knows nothing but logic and does not rule anything but the mind in their worldly affairs.
By Ahmad alsarraf