It is with pleasure and honour
that I associate myself with you in this gathering
on the invitation extended to me by the Peace Secretariat
for Muslims – Puttalam Office. The organizers
of this significant event insisted that I also share
my views and thoughts with the distinguished invitees
especially on “Social Harmony”.
At present social harmony is one of the much talked
about subjects not only in Sri Lanka but also the
world over. What makes it so important? One needs
to ponder over this.
Mankind is a blend of people with
diversified beliefs. A set of beliefs adopted by
a group of people may be contrary to that of another
group. When more than one belief is found in a society,
it is a multiethnic and multireligious society.
Ethnic groups living in a country practice different
ways of worship, adopt various lifestyles and may
even differ in languages they speak. Yet prevail
there the characteristics of mankind which make
everyone of them have fellow-feeling.
Once you accept the fact of multiethnic
and multireligious society, it is natural that you
accept the fact of existing of more than one belief,
more than one way of worship and life pattern and
more than one language. When this established fact
is forgotten or refused, then the social order collapses.
This is evident in nations where this fact is forgotten
or refused. As this situation has led to nasty social
discord, everyone concerned has started talking
and writing about social harmony.
In a multiethnic society each
ethnic group irrespective of its size or quantity,
has its own rights; right to worship in a way that
wants, right to practice the teachings of its faith,
right to express its views, right to live, right
to work, right to buy and sell, right to own property,
right to vote, right to elect the candidate of its
choice, right to speak its mother tongue, right
to voice against injustice, oppression, violence,
cruelty, etc. and right to fight for the said rights
in case of infringement.
All the members of humankind hail
from one family; family of Almighty Allah. Prophet
Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) proclaimed
“The entire creation is
the family of Allah.” (Tabaraani)
The above prophetic saying establishes
well the brotherhood of human beings in Islam. Islam
really places lot of emphasis on fraternity of mankind
and it wants every member of the human kingdom to
look at each other and treat one another with mercy
and love. The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam)
“Show mercy to those who
are on earth so that the one in heaven would show
mercy to you.” (Sunanu Abee Daawood)
In the eyes of Islam, all human
beings are equal. Islam looks at them as children
of one father and mother. This is where differences
of colour, race, ethnicity, language, country, etc.
are buried. Every man has a soul and feeling that
in another way naturally prove equality of human
beings. On this ground our beloved Prophet Muhammad
(Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) stood up for a corpse
of a Jew. When he was inquired about this, he replied:
“Is it not a soul?”
Almighty Allah has bestowed on
each and every one the power of reasoning through
which he / she can well distinguish between right
and wrong, good and bad and pure and impure. The
Almighty has also shown the right path and the wrong
path and wanted mankind to choose the right path
for their own good here and the hereafter. So they
are at liberty to decide on the way of their choice.
This fact is confirmed in the following verse of
the Holy Qur’an:
“There is no compulsion in
religion. Verily the right path has become distinct
from the wrong path.” (02 : 256)
Freedom of faith is ensured in
Islam as the above verse clearly shows it.
If you really want to see social
harmony in a pluralistic society, you must have
regard for the theories of equality of human beings,
brotherhood of human beings and freedom of religion
and all the communities should respect each other
in all aspects, understand the feelings of each
other and preserve the rights of one another.
Now the reality is that every community
of this country is at each other’s throats.
The Tamil Community is blaming the Sinhala Community
for undermining their rights and the Muslim Community
is blaming the Tamil Community for uprooting them
from their own soil. Can one boldly and proudly
say that the communities living in this beautiful
Island live together in perfect harmony? If this
situation continues, can lasting peace be achieved?
How many attempts to establish
eternal peace in our blessed motherland? How many
meetings? How many talks? How many conferences?
How many seminars? How many workshops? How many
legislations? How many agreements? Did any of these
actually bear fruit? If not, why? You did not try
to eliminate the elements that caused the social
friction, but you rather tried to treat the effects.
Can you wipe out the effects while allowing the
causes to exist?
Therefore, let us be honest; honest
in what we intend, honest in what we say, honest
in what we do and honest in what we preach. Let
us make honest efforts to eradicate the causes of
social discord so that social harmony will bloom
again and durable peace will blossom again.