Promoting goodness and goodwill

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The message of enjoining the good and rejecting evil, to preserve and promote truthfulness, justice and harmony should become the governing reference for society, asserts Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid.

peace and justice

Human civilisations have seen the forces of good and evil struggle for dominance. Evil people have evil thoughts. Evil thoughts do harm to others who are perceived as enemies or merely different.

Race, religion, social class and narrow ideology-based leaders and their associations have always been successful in the short-term, in inciting killings, violence and oppression in blatant and subtle ways.

The anatomy of evil has been studied from historical, psychological, political-military and religious perspectives. Evil takes on many guises and evil leaders wear many masks.

Evil acts are those committed by associations such as the Ku Klux Klan, killings and bombings in schools, lone serial killers, such tragedies caused by people like Charles Manson, and inciters of racial riots, religious and civil wars. They even recruit children to commit to their causes and become evil.

They work through legitimate associations and even political parties where they sow and grow ideas of hate which typically begin with arguments of preserving their way of life, survival, then their control and then supremacy.

As racial purists, chauvinists or religious moralists, they use instruments of threat and create fear in others. They often believe they must destroy and kill in order to rebuild, and hence, commit acts of ethnic cleansing, religious inquisitions and begin year zero. The errors they commit include the following:

  • They deny the first instance of right to life, property, liberty, peace and happiness of others;
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Assumption that the world is homogenous in ideology, languages and cultures and, therefore, underestimate resistance, the justness of other causes and the equal emotions, and passions of others;

  • They are really ordinary leaders who may think of themselves as extraordinary.

But, they are neither prophets nor sages and unlike messengers of God, they were not given revealed knowledge and mandate to create havoc in their societies.

Prophets and messengers were given messages of enlightenment and goodwill divinely ordained, unlike those self-proclaimed leaders with personally constructed convoluted messages of human manipulations;

  • They err in forgetting that their active lifetime is limited and evil ideas in the public domain do not last and are not sustained by the next generation and the world at large, which is so diverse;
  • They fail to learn lessons regarding the rise and fall of civilisations and empires and personalities and leaders in the cycle of history;
  • They imagine themselves to be leaders of the masses even when they are not equipped with knowledge, virtue and common sense;
  • They do not understand the meaning of compassion, mercy, grace and restraint; and,
  • They do not practise the straight path of religious teachings or the middle paths of philosophical beliefs.

In all cases recorded in the history of mankind, millions have been and are being killed because of evil people. However, their ends are never achieved because of their first instance errors of leadership ego, greed, and lust for power and quest for recognition as antiheroes.

Revolutions for freedom and struggles against colonialism are not necessarily evil. Leaders of such struggles and their organisations believe in ideals of liberty, fraternity, equality for all and they are against apartheid or other forms of discrimination.

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Lately, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had repeatedly expressed concern about the new radicalism in society. Ordinary citizens have also expressed similar concerns.

Dr Chandra Muzaffar sees the menacing danger of radicalism. People who uphold violent means to reform society will establish connections with others from violent societies and bring new cultures of violence to relatively gentle Malaysians and the region. Such people with access to all kinds of weapons and ideas of radical change can destroy the time-honoured peace and order of the region.

Understanding the multicultural and multireligious nature of Britain, the British prime minister gave a Ramadan 1435 speech, respecting the Islamic focus on charity, reflection and community.

For Muslims and non-Muslims, Sunni and Shia, the righteous and ideologues, Ramadan provides the opportunity to reflect, practise restraint, repent, taubah or, at the very least, try to be good people who respect others.

Good civil society leaders, good religious leaders and wise leaders from the silent majority should come to the fore to advise those who have been swayed by the power of publicity and extreme logic to choose paths that will not destroy the Malaysian way of life.

The message of enjoining the good and rejecting evil, to preserve and promote truthfulness, justice and harmony should be clearly clarified and such messages of love and restraint should become the governing reference for society.

Source: nst.com.my, 4 July 2014

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