‘Religious Protectionism’

“Who needs protection?”

If we’re honest with ourselves, the answer should be, has been, and will always be “Those who are weak, feeble, meek, unsure, uncertain, pessimistic, fearful, doubtful …” The list of adjectives could go on and on. But none of them, I believe, will be one that reflects confidence, optimism, much less greatness and magnanimity.

If I am fasting in observance of my religious obligation, should I be protected from those who are not? Should I be afraid and feel threatened by those who do not share my faith and, therefore, the religious practices that I am required to do as part of my commitment to the faith? If I belong to a strong group – one that has the largest membership, the majority – should I seek protection from the authority and judges from the ‘lesser’ groups’ nuisances? If my faith is strong, do I still need assurances from others?

If I am fasting in observance of my religious belief and everybody else is drinking and eating all around me, and all the restaurants are open and their windows are displaying all kinds of delicious foods and refreshing drinks, will I become less observant to my religious duty?

– Well, I might. That is if I become tempted and break my fast as a result of seeing those delectable sights. But is it really because of them that I become less observant to my religious duty? Or is it because my faith had been inherently weak in the first place? Would I still be tempted to break my fast and forget about my religious commitment in such a situation if my faith had been strong?

Strength and confidence are not things that one can claim out of nothing. They are evidence-based. And evidence needs to be obtained. Testing is one way to obtain it. If you claim that your faith is strong and you are confident about the quality of your faith, let’s get tested. Observe your religious duties among those who do not. Keep observing them, do good and be magnanimous in spite of all the challenges and unfavourable milieux. Only then can you – and I – claim that our faith is strong and that we are confident with our religious commitment.

Who needs protection if we are strong and confident?


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