In my previous post I concluded that we should respect virtuous people of all faiths. Unfortunate circumstances have shown us such a person, Tariq Jahan. He and other shop keepers in Birmingham went out to defend their shops from the mindless thugs who are looting and causing trouble in some of England’s cities. On seeing opposition one of the looters deliberately drove his car at speed into the crowd, killing three men. One of the men killed was Haroon Jahan, Tariq’s son
Shortly after this, Tariq spoke publicly on television. He said:
Today, we stand here to call to all the youth to remain calm, for our communities to stay united.
I have lost my son – if you want to lose yours step forward, otherwise calm down and go home.
Later he added
As we stand here today, this is not a race issue. The families have received messages of sympathy and support from all parts of the communities – from all faiths, all colours and backgrounds.
I applaud and respect him for calling for peace and unity at a difficult time. My heart goes out to him and his family
I was watching the news yesterday morning with my 3 yr old son and we saw this segment. His speech was so calm, so sincere, so wise. I got choked up when explaining to my son what was going on.
May all of children be safe, and the children of others (which all of us).
Om Shanti shanti shanti!
That is an awful thing to happen to anybody. My heart grieves that people would be so merciless.
It does bring up a question in my mind, though. When we respect someone of another faith for being virtuous, do we respect them for being virtuous according to the beliefs of our path or according to the tenets of their religion, which may be opposed to what we are following. I am looking for any and all answers and opinions. Jai Maa!
An excellent question Kumari.
As I discussed in my previous post I do not believe that all religions are equally valid, though all have some value. This meas that we must look to the virtues in Hinduism; the yamas and niyamas and the teaching of the Vedas and saints. Someone acting in accordance with these is virtuous. In this way, by giving a clear message of peace and unity in a difficult situation, Tariq Jahan was showing ahimsa. Similarly by explicitly talking about people of all faiths he was showing that he values all people, sees the world as a family. Using our standards doesn’t mean that people have to follow them in the same way; worshiping God in their way is ishvarapujana and studying their books is siddhanta shravana. We can see this as virtuous.
On the other hand if someone is doing something that contradicts our standards we cannot see it as virtuous. A priest who turns a youth against his family in order to gain a convert might think he has saved a soul and done a good thing. A Muslim in an Islamic state who prevents someone from another faith from repairing their place of worship, or rips a religious symbol from them may see it as virtuous and upholding the law of Muhammad. We, on the other hand, would see both of these as unvirtuos and adharmic.
“though all have some value”
I agree, and at the heart of all religions they have what I like to call the “Basic laws of humanity”. You know the whole don’t murder, steal, commit adultery &tc. &tc.. Beyond these Basic Laws of Humanity is where the similarities stop and develop their own dogma that diverges into the three Gunas (if looking from a Hindu point of view). In times of trouble all religions can pool together and support each other as we all revert back to the basic laws of humanity.
All because most religions share these basic laws of humanity is where I think the confusion and pluralism and the many paths argument comes into play. This does not mean that a Rajistic or Tamasic religion is equal to a Sattvic Dharmic faith.
Rant aside, I feel for his loss. No parent should have to bury a child, especially over something so trivial as wanton acts of criminality because some Chav needs a new track suit and trainers. For this my heart goes out to him and his community.