OPINION: Practise religion while respecting others’ beliefs
OPINION - I KINDLY need to voice my concerns on the important matter regarding the Islamic Azaan holy prayer call.
It’s common practice in thousands of Hindu homes for followers of Hinduism to arise every day at 3am, do the necessary and begin their prayer and meditation at about 4am.
I fall into this category too. This period of prayer and meditation is prescribed in our Holy Scriptures and by our God-realised Saints or Swamis, as they are known. This time is called Brahmamuhurta.
Complete silence during this prescribed period is the essence of a successful meditation (when one is able to connect with the Divine).
Therefore, the most important principle of co-existence comes to the fore.
Furthermore, the principle of practising one’s religion with absolute due respect for the religious practice of another religious group is also absolutely essential.
May I add that nobody will be able to pray or meditate at the same time that a prayer or call to prayer of another religion is being loudly voiced through a loud-hailer or by an individual in a built-up environment, which is multi-religious in a post-apartheid South Africa.
This is where respect for the practice of another individual’s religion comes to the fore.
If this respect is lacking due to emotions over-riding basic respect, then obviously differences will arise.
Co-existence and respect are a twoway process. Hindus respect Islam and I believe that Muslims respect Hinduism too.
May I add that due cognisance therefore be given to the points I raised and steps be taken to lower the volume of the Azaan or use cellphone technologies to remind followers of the prayer.
I really don’t see the need for any differences as the Honourable Judge has based his decision on the constitutional right to peace and tranquillity and not on any religious injunction.
In the final analysis, we have lived in peace and harmony with all religious and cultural groups since the arrival of our ancestors as indentured labourers 160 years ago.
Let’s continue with this kind of respect in the new non-racial, democratic and multi-religious South Africa.
We must not allow any differences to damage the kind of relationship that we enjoyed over the past 160 years.
J Singh | Westville