Islam always stress for the respect of a person whether a Muslim or a Non-Muslim and it is the sunnah of our beloved Prophet (SAWW) that he used to respect his enemies too for that we have numerous examples in the history. So when Islam is stressing for the respect of a person then we have no other way but to give respect to our sacred personalities.
By Zulfiqar Ali Mir
In the name of Lord, the most Beneficent and most Merciful
Look, how they coin epithets for you; so they go astray, and cannot find a way. (Qur’an 17:48 )
In today’s intricate world it is necessary to maintain peace, and people themselves are responsible for that. One of the most problems that we face now a days is that there are people around us who have become full of oneself and self-regarding. The problem arises here, if I want to bring peace but due to my own opinions I am offending and harassing others then far away is that peace that I am looking for. The emotions and notions of people should be given much importance (not the emotions which are against Shariyah). Likewise emotions there is another thing that we have to take into consideration and that is sacred personalities. When it comes to the personalities which are sacred in the eyes of people (other than the enemies of Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) and his pure progeny (A.S)) we have to be conscious before disrespecting them because if we are doing so we not only are annoying others even we are creating conflicts in the community by doing so and conflict leads to social disturbance which disturbs peace itself.
Imam Ali (A.S) in his letter to Maalik al-Ashtar (R.A) writes:
Remember, Maalik, that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you have; they are brothers to you, and those who have religions other than that of yours, they are human beings like you. Men of either category suffer from the same weaknesses and disabilities that human beings are inclined to, they commit sins, indulge in vices either intentionally or foolishly and unintentionally without realizing the enormity of their deeds. Let your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy and forgiveness to you.
In this Imam Ali (A.S) has took the respect and the rights of a person into consideration so that there would not be an imbalance created in a community. People have rights over each other and even over the leader and a leader also has some rights over people. So Imam Ali (A.S) gave such importance for these things that he described in this letter.
Thus respecting a person is a certain doctrine of nurture of a culture and is a sign of its blooming. It is a need for bringing morals and consolidation of the positive behavior in a community and is a main pillar of peace and brotherhood and lack of this good act causes tiffs and conflicts in a community. Giving respect to a person including Muslim and Non-Muslim is essential and religion and great personalities always stressed for this good act.
Disrespect in literal meaning, “if someone shows disrespect, they speak or behave in a way that shows lack of respect for a person, law or custom” , “to lack special regard or respect for: to have disrespect” , “to speak or behave rudely to someone, or to show some no respect” .
Thus it clear that disrespecting is not only meant when someone is being misbehaved or given no respect etc. rather it can be also used when someone’s tenets (and muqaddasaat) are being given no respect or depreciated.
What does sacred mean?
Sacred in general are personalities and notions which are honorable and respectful before people. Sacred things in Islam are those which are being specified and determined by Islamic Shariyah.
Disrespect of Sacred personalities
Islam always stress for the respect of a person whether a Muslim or a Non-Muslim and it is the sunnah of our beloved Prophet (SAWW) that he used to respect his enemies too for that we have numerous examples in the history. So when Islam is stressing for the respect of a person then we have no other way but to give respect to our sacred personalities. Disrespecting the sacred personalities and notions of Islam (disrespect in any sense) is not and should not be tolerated or supported otherwise an imbalance of peace and moralities in a community due to this act is obvious.
I saw people intentionally or unintentionally doing the acts that they love or even they are delighted by doing so without contemplating the reaction or sentiments of people. I would like to quote some examples to clarify my talking point, once a person before people analogized Hazrat Abbas Ibn Ali (A.S) to a WWE superstar The Undertaker to expound his personality without pondering what the image of that WWE superstar and that sacred personality is before the people. Another example of a person who use to demonstrate English Cricket team as a force of Hazrat Abbas (A.S). Yet we know that what the image of sports is in the sense of people and how respected and sacred personality is Hazrat Abbas (A.S) characterized by Holy Imams themselves.
Similarly I by myself noticed many a times some people doing this act, I don’t know what the intention of these persons is or are they doing so intentionally or unintentionally, I have nothing to do with that but by these actions if the emotions of people are hurt or their tenets are disrespected it is an unethical act and is not allowed by Islam. If we had perceived the reality of the essence of these Sacred personalities we would have been blessed by their existence and their teachings and indeed these are the personalities who can become the cause for our salvation if we attempt to understand their teachings and apply in our lives as these are the real explainers of Islam.
The sacred personalities do kindness on humanity by sacrificing their time, families and even their lives and in return they also have some rights over us and to describe that I would like to quote one of the explanations of Imam Sajjad’s (A.S) Treatise on Rights here:
The Right of One who does a Kindly Act
The right of him who does a kindly act (dhu l-ma’ruf) toward you is that you thank him and mention his kindness; you reward him with beautiful words and you supplicate for him sincerely in that which is between you and God. If you do that, you have thanked him secretly and openly. Then, if you are able to repay him one day, you repay him.
Author hails from Kashmir and is presently studying at Hawza Elmiya Qom, Iran.