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Respecting All Religion

Word For Peace

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

There are more than a dozen major religions in the world, while there are numerous minor
religions. Now the question arises as to how to create an atmosphere of unity among the
adherents of all these religions? If it were said that the only solution would lie in wiping out
all these various religions, this would still not be the solution to it.

It would not be feasible to wipe out or put an end to the various religions. And it certainly
would not be the solution to the problem because the urge to believe in a religion is
strongly inhered in human nature. This human nature cannot be changed.

Another suggestion which is often put up to promote the unity and co-existence of all
religions, is that, all religions are true. But realistically, this cannot be, because the path of
truth is only one, while false paths are varied. Thus, this suggestion is not practical.

Religion is not just a means to an end. It is the representation of Truth.

If a person believes in a particular religion, it means that he is convinced that this is the
truth, and he stands on the conviction of that truth.

But the question of all religions being equally true, defies the inner conviction of human
beings, as it is for ‘that’ particular belief and faith, that one stands confident in this world.
This world which is full of strains and sufferings, and which is transitory, while truth is the
only thing that one can hold on to. So, the suggestion that all religions are true is not
practicable, and certainly not the solution to bring about unity.

The only solution lies in adjusting a different strategy, a feeling of religious tolerance, and
utmost respect for the other person’s convictions. Everyone is entitled to follow what they
think is the best for their inner solace, and follow it accordingly, as is deemed necessary. But
this should not prejudice one’s opinion of the other man’s beliefs. There should be a mutual
respect for each other. Mutual recognition of religion might not be a practical formula, but
mutual respect certainly is. For instance, if a person shows utmost respect and reverence for
his mother, he is also bound to show the same to other women too, even if they are not his
mothers. To accord respect to a woman, she does not necessarily have to be his mother.
Likewise, one can show respect and tolerance for other people’s religion. It does not
necessarily mean that respect should be limited only for one’s own religion.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is an Islamic Scholar and founder of Centre for Peace and Spirituality International.

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