One good turn deserves another

a paragraph in an article written by egyptian colleague fatima naout says: ‘a religious personality asked the dalai lama which was the best religion from his point of view.’ he responded by saying: ‘whatever makes you more compassionate, more sensible, more detached, more loving, less biased, less racist, more humanitarian, more responsible, more ethical is the best religion’. ‘i am not interested, my friend, in your religion or if you are religious or not,’ he added. ‘what really is important to me is your behavior in front of your peers, family, work, community, and the world, all of this is you and your image before god. ‘remember, the universe echoes our actions and our thoughts. the law which says every action has a reaction is not solely applicable for physics. the same is applicable to human relationships. if i show goodness, i will receive goodness. if i am evil, i will get evil. ‘what our grandparents told us is the pure truth. they said you will get what you desire for others. being happy is not related to destiny. it is a matter of options’. the dalai lama concluded by saying: ‘take care of your ‘thoughts’ because they become ‘words’. take care of your ‘words’ because they will become ‘actions’. take care of your ‘actions’ because they will become ‘habits’. take care of your ‘habits’ because they will form your ‘character’. ‘take care of your character because it will form your destiny, and your destiny will be your life’. what the dalai lama wanted to say simply was that religion is a means, not an end. the end is the goodness of human beings and societies! now, if we agree with the dalai lama’s definition of faith, it will be ok, if we disagree with him, then we are contrary to human instinct and human tendency to coexist with others. in this respect, i was surprised by the negative responses to some of my frank and transparent replies to the questions i was asked during a tv program ‘be patient’ by the creative presenter jafar mohammad, who revealed that honesty and frankness are undesirable in our societies, which cover up and claim what we don’t believe in, even if this leads us to schizophrenia, that is to say the deed and its opposite. i remember well, when i was in london when my kuwaiti guests often insisted on dining at the most expensive western restaurants and were overly concerned about not eating any forbidden food, but almost all of them wanted me to take them to the casino for gambling. this reminded me of a recent statement by the deputy prime minister of malaysia who said many muslims are keen not to eat forbidden food, but don’t mind making money illegally (haraam money). many of us judge others depending on their commitment to prayer and worship and look upon others as outcast. i do not know why we ignore the saying: ‘a muslim is the one who doesn’t harm others with his hand or tongue. what about sincerity, honesty, decency and loyalty to his country, society and family?

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