We are witnessing actions and thinking based on an ideology of hate and violence committed by individuals who call themselves Muslims, commit crimes and say that it is in the name of God, while Middle East was the light of the world and the source of knowledge. If we read the biography of prophet Mohammed, we can tell how much he encouraged knowledge. He couldn’t read or write, but knowledge was very important for him. After the battle of Badr in 624 AD, he was offered a ransom to free the prisoners of war. The majority of his followers were the weak, the slaves, people who couldn’t read or write. He told the pagans that each one of them had to teach ten Muslims how to read and write as the price of their freedom. No gold or money for ransom, but knowledge. Prophet Mohammed who had a lot of respect for knowledge and knowledgeable people, said:
“The ink of a scholar is worth more for God than the blood of a martyr”
He also said:
“Learn, and when you learn, teach”
“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”
“Seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim, male and female.”
“Moderation is the best of actions”
Religion has been hijacked by people who are acting and thinking against the message of God and don’t even know it. I don’t think that extremists have any religion or nation, so our biggest and maybe unique enemy is ignorance. It is the duty of everyone who knows, to teach and fight it. Extremism and ignorance gave birth to very dangerous ideologies the free world had to fight in the past and the present ones believe in the same dogmatism , think that they are right and can justify their acts. It is what some extremist groups are doing. They not only kill people, but also, destroy the history of humanity by destroying the historical artifacts and museums. No religion would agree on that, everything they do or say is against God’s teachings and civilization. I know that the situation seems discouraging, but all believers have to lead an intellectual fight against ignorance so it will not prevail.
It is amazing how what we hear from the majority and what we read is different. People have the tendency to be lazy, not read or do their own research on religious subjects and listen to other people interpretations, take them for granted and make them rules. Because of this bad habit, the fundamentalists, happy to spread their message could brain wash a lot of people who believe in things that are actually not in the book, simply because most of the time, they have never read it. Didn’t the voice Saint Augustine heard said: “Take it and read it”?
There are too many quotes of peace, brotherhood, friendship between human beings in the Bible, we can’t quote them all, but even one of them gives us the message that just like Islam all the monotheist religions preach peace. If the greeting in Islam “Assalamu Alaykum” means “Peace be with you” it is for a reason. I might sound too naïve or candid but I really, from the bottom of my heart, dream of a world of peace where there will be no difference of color or race or religion that can destroy the peace of mankind. I dream of a holy respected Jerusalem that belongs to the three religions where Muslims, Christians and Jews coexist in peace, where pilgrims from all over the world and different religions will come without fear or pressure of any kind, where even atheists can walk in peace. It is a shame that in the holy place people are afraid. I pray for a world of love where there will be no fear and no violence for our children. If we are all filled with the love of God and understand his message we will all love each other. So take it and read it!