Article in brief: The article explains how not accepting foreign cultures and other religions is not part of our culture.
I recently attended my school’s graduation ceremony. It was very heartwarming to experience the students with bright smiles and gleaming eyes as they were given their high school diplomas. This completed and thus highlighted their 14-years endeavor before venturing into the big world.
With it being an event of such high importance and significance, several programs were initiated and executed for the audience’s entertainment. One being an act performed by my classmates called “Terminal 3”.
The play basically highlighted a normal occurrence at the airport, or rather the country as a whole.
The play commenced with a football crazed Arab walking around what seems to be terminal three of Dubai Airport and bumps into an old Indian man. They attempted to converse, but to no avail. They share no mutual language. Nevertheless, sign language has proven to be a successful communication tool. Midway through their short conversation, a British businessman (he’s actually an Emirati, with a convincing accent if you ask me) joins in the conversation, using sign language of course. Their conversation revolves around their families, lives, so on and so forth and is concluded by well wishes.
Regardless of their major differences, they managed to converse happily amongst each other. They didn’t allow their differences to separate them. They’re all human beings after all.
We always rush in prejudging and making stereotypes without taking a moment “to walk a mile in their shoes”, if we have done so, all misconceptions and misunderstandings would be avoided
The point of the previously mentioned anecdote is to shed light on what made the UAE more successful than its counterparts. We stuck to our roots by welcoming foreigners in to our abode and taking from their culture and experiences what does not contradict with our own beliefs. I am not saying that this is the case nowadays, however, this is how it all began.
When speaking of tolerance, the Prophet [peace and blessings be upon him (PBUH)] can be described as the master of tolerance; this may be exhibited from the following examples:
- Historians report that as a funeral of a Jew passed before Prophet Muhammad [PBUH], as a sign of respect he stood up. In doing this, he showed respect and shared the feeling of sorrow with the Jewish family and community. “Why did you stand up for a Jewish funeral?” he was asked. The Prophet replied: “Is it not a human soul?”
- Upon learning of the sickness of his Jewish neighbor, Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] paid him a visit. During the visit the Prophet [PBUH] asked the young man to accept Islam. The young man looked at his father for permission. The father assented and the young man accepted Islam.
The UAE is a successful example of a tolerant country that maintained its heritage and set of beliefs. Where else would you find a niqabi and a church-goer happily chatting away? Where else would you find a farm owner and his South Asian farm worker sharing food from the same plate? Where else would you find two students from different sides of the globe working together on a group project? Where else would you find a leader walk freely amongst his people and treat them and his family as one?
Consequently, we must always remember that the more we learn, the more we must teach. The more we take in, the harder the effort we must make to preserve our identity. We must swiftly travel with the winds of time, with our feet firmly planted to the ground.
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