When explaining fanaticism and extremism, you must remember one word: intolerance. When somebody becomes so intolerant that for except himself, his religion and his denomination, he does not recognise any other religion, sect or faith as a truthful one, then that is extremism; that is fanaticism.
But I was just thinking: one doesn’t necessarily have to be practicing any religion to be a fanatic, to be an extremist. Even those individuals who do not practice any religion at all, they are so intolerant, and we get to see such people in the supermarkets, in the roads, at the traffic lights, and in different public places. Sometimes when I am driving on these roads, and I am driving on a major road, I see people who want to turn into the major road from a minor road. They expect you to stop on the major road and allow them to go from minor to major and if you don’t do that, they murmur in their mouth and they look towards you in a mean way, with so much hatred, like you have committed a mighty crime. This is not because of differences between the religions.
Extremism and fanaticism has to do with your temperament. How cool-headed you are or how easily you become angry. Some people are so cool-headed that even if you do something wrong (you harm them or you hurt them), and you say sorry, they forgive you and they forget about it. However some people, you can’t even look at them. If you look at them, they say, ‘Yes, what? What do you want to do?’ Mostly it is about temperament. It is about how intolerant you are. Some people don’t give you space to breathe in; they are so short-tempered that you don’t have to do anything wrong to upset them. You can’t even breathe in front of them. You can’t open your mouth and this is not because you believe in one religion and he believes in another religion. You may practise or believe in any religion; you may practice the same faith as they do. Even then, they can’t really be patient with anybody else’s presence. I have come up with this conclusion that extremism and fanaticism has to do with the incapacity and inability to appreciate somebody else’s goodness and it is to do with Ego.
There is a sect in Islam, Wahhabism. They think only Wahhabis are Muslims. All non-Wahhabi sects are infidels and they say it! Now this understanding or whatever rigid belief system that could be, is not confined to religiosity. I have seen such characters among those individuals also who hate religions, who love money, sex, and all the rest and yet, you see their temperament and you say, ‘Oh, he is another King Fahad from Saudi Arabia; perhaps he is King Fahad in disguise.’ Maybe you see another Saddam Hussein. This is to do with Ego. When you see somebody saying, ‘Oh, they’re all bad; only I am good,’ this is extremism.
Very unfortunately, I am sorry to say it, but a lot of extremism comes from the Muslim world, especially from those who do not love the Prophet of their religion. In Christianity you will see that Catholics are better human beings. I personally find it really difficult to deal with a Protestant.
Now, I am going to say something really terrible but I hope you understand it well. I’m going to say something really explosive, but at this platform I hope you think nothing will come false. Nothing will come stained in hatred. I see terrorism, extremism and fanaticism with two different shadows of meaning: academic terrorism, academic extremism, academic fanaticism, and practical extremism, practical fanaticism. Muslims are more prone to be practical extremists: those who have taken it to the weapon and have started destroying the human populace. However, Muslims are not the only religious group who exhibit their extreme behaviour towards religions. Please forgive me if you don’t like it, but when it comes to academic belief, when it comes to portraying it to the world, then Jews are more extremists. They may not take it to the weapon, however they think nobody is better than a Jew. Although they are not killing people, they have their own world. They have segregated themselves from the rest of the human society. But like I said, Muslims have taken it to a higher level: killing everybody. But academically speaking, there are certain fractions within Islam who are very friendly, for example Sufi Islam. Sufi Islam has never been radicalised. There have never been radical elements within Sufi Islam. Sufis have always shown to be more tolerable, more accepting, more loveable, and friendlier to all human beings regardless of the nature of their religious background. However, I have not come to know of any fraction within Judaism who has shown to be open and welcoming to individuals of other faiths and other religions. And you know why? Because they think they are the best. When you have this notion nurtured for so many years in your mind that you are the best, then there is nobody more of an extremist than you are.
Either you think you are the best because of your religion or you think you are the best simply because you are the best, in both forms it is extremism. Either you are a businessman or a religious scholar, thinking that, ‘I am the best,’ is the principle requirement of extremism.
His Divine Eminence Gohar Shahi said, ‘A revolutionary message of Gohar Shahi to the entire humanity: a Jew thinks he is the best, a Muslim thinks he is the best and a Christian thinks he is the best. But Gohar Shahi says, “One who loves God in his heart is the best, even if he does not practice or follow any religion at all.”’
And interestingly enough, those who love God, they are best but they never say that they are the best. They are always so humble; they are always down to earth.
So HDE Gohar Shahi has actually given the solution to the problem, and not only the solution, but is also giving the medicine to cure the incurable hearts, stained souls and stalled minds.
Don’t forget, there is religious extremism and there is secular extremism. In both ways, extremism is extremism. When a religious person becomes extremist, he hates all other religions. When a rich man becomes an extremist, what does he do? He becomes an oppressor and he deprives the fundamental rights of the poor people. He becomes a tyrant. In both ways, extremism, fanatics is an evil trait and highly, highly negative behaviour and is intolerant to the society. It is the most hateful, anti-social behaviour. We should say, ‘No!’ to all forms of fanaticism and all forms of extremism. But we shouldn’t just be vocal about saying ‘No,’ we should say, ‘No,’ by our actions, by not being extremists, by not being fanatics, by giving people love, by being more tolerant to all religions, to all faiths, to everybody. Live and let live! Let people practice what they believe, even if you think it is wrong. You are not the judge. God will decide who is right and who is wrong on the Day of Judgment.
If you believe in what you have been taught and you really stubbornly believe in it, I don’t think this is extremism. This is power of belief. Extremism is when you think you are right and everyone else is wrong, therefore they have no right to live. Fanaticism is to do with not using your brain. Like the Taliban, they said to their followers, ‘Just kill everybody, even the babies because they are all infidels (Kafirs).’ If you have a little bit of brain in your head, you will think, ‘A baby of six months, how can the baby be Kafir?’ And you will not do it; you will not harm and hurt the baby. But we see on a daily basis what happens in Pakistan. They’re blowing up bombs and babies are being killed. When they were interviewed and asked, ‘Why did you do it? Didn’t you see that there were babies there?’ They said, ‘We don’t recognise anybody. We have been told, “All these people are Kafireen (Infidels).”’ And then the interviewer said, ‘Even the baby that was two months old was a Kafir?’ They said, ‘Yes, they are Kafir.’ Now, your brain is locked. There is no understanding of what is going on. There is no sense. You are killing two-month-old babies and you are telling the world that they are Kafireen, they are enemies of the religion. A two-month-old baby is the enemy of any religion?! A two-month-old baby is a Kafir? Which means you have lost your brains. You have become senseless. When you have become senseless, your brain has been washed, and you have been indoctrined to do something, and you just do it without even thinking whether it is right or wrong, then this is fanaticism. These individuals from Al-Qaeda and Taliban, they are fanatics. Because their brains are messed up; they are killing innocent human beings, even the babies! On a daily basis we see that they (the Taliban) open the mouth of the baby, insert the gun, and then shoot them. What kind of Islam is this? This is worse than being a pig. This is fanaticism. You will not see it in Sufi Islam.
We have only two incidents in the history. Firstly, Prophet Mohammad was sitting and delegations from different countries came. They were all requesting Prophet Mohammad to pray for their country, to bless their country. A delegation from Syria came, and they said, ‘Ya Rasool Allah, pray for our country.’ And Prophet Mohammad prayed for them. More than one delegation came, and Prophet Mohammad prayed for them. But towards the end, some people stood up and said, ‘Ya Rasool Allah, do not forget to pray for Najd, to bless our country, Najd.’ And Prophet Mohammad said, ‘No, I will not pray for Najd.’
Secondly, Imam Mehdi Gohar Shahi went to Peshawar and when Imam Mehdi Gohar Shahi was coming back from Peshawar, Allah spoke to Imam Mehdi Gohar Shahi and said, ‘Do not go back to Peshawar again.’ These are two events; now, it needs explanation. The reason why Allah said to Imam Mehdi Gohar Shahi was because of Moulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, not because of the people who lived there. Because Moulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, like Yazid ibn Muawiyah was enemy to Imam Hussein, Moulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, in a more rigid way, is an enemy to Allah personally. For Najd (note this down): there is a ray of light falling on Kaaba, Mecca from Bait al Mamour, non-stop and there is a non-stop curse falling on Najd. Whoever will go to Najd and spend time there will become Mardood (Rejected by God). Whoever will enter the mosques of Taliban and Wahhabi, he will become Mardood. You cannot enter a mosque of Wahhabism - I am not teaching you sectarianism. I am trying to save you from the clones of the Devil. But now, even the Sunnis have become extremists. Now, because Sufi Islam has become oblivion, Sufi Islam is nowhere to be seen, therefore Islam has become very poor. The only richness in Islam was due to the presence of Sufis in Islam.
HDE Gohar Shahi is calling upon humanity - all religions - to come and obtain the Spiritual Sciences. If you are a Hindu, become a better Hindu: a God-loving Hindu. If you are a Christian, become a better Christian: a God-loving Christian who has linked up with God. HDE Gohar Shahi is bridging hearts of humanity with God. There is a gap, and the gap is not between the minds: the gap is between the hearts. When the heart is abridged, when you are only practicing the rituals of the religion, when you are not connected with God and you are just wasting your time in the worship places. You do want to love God but you do not know what to do to love God. What is missing from the human lives today is the understanding of themselves: who they are and why they are here. They do not know what tools God has furnished them with. In the line of spirituality, in the line of the religion, in the line of reforms, you need the tools and those tools are within you: your heart, your Self, your soul and other Spiritual Subtleties. When these subtleties are activated, awakened, spiritualised, empowered, then there rises a new human being full of divine understanding, divine intellect, tolerance, patience, and forbearance. Then you understand that all these human beings are the creature of the same God and all have the right to live, and live happily in complete peace and harmony. This happens when you equal others with yourself.
If you think you are the best and your religion is the best, you do not equal others with yourself. When you think you are better (not slightly better, way better), like no one can compete with you in being better, you’re the only one who is rightly-guided and you are so much rightly-guided that you don’t even take the trouble to guide others. If you think you are rightly-guided, then guide others! But you want to kill them because they are not guided. If they are misguided, guide them. Don’t kill them! But you see: this thought can only come when they are truly guided and this guidance came from God. When your heart is truly guided and this guidance came from God, only then you will have this understanding, ‘Oh I should be grateful to God and in paying gratitude to God, I should guide others; this will please my God more.’ And then you go out into the world, and you make efforts to change the way people think. You extend your divine, spiritual hospitality. You give them your spiritual intuition and spiritual understanding and you make efforts to guide them. However, when the devil is inside your heart and the devil speaks in your mouth saying, ‘You are the only guided one,’ and as a result of this understanding that you are the only guided one, you start hurting others, killing others, then this is not guidance. This is a mind-set given to you by the devil. Those who are guided don’t kill others, they guide them. Those who are severely misguided (however according to their understanding and their shallow wit, they think they are guided) they don’t want to guide others; they want to kill others, to hate others.
HDE Gohar Shahi said in one public discourse to the Muslims in Pakistan, ‘Do not call even a Kafir (infidel) a Kafir. If somebody is a Kafir, do not call him a Kafir. Why? Because maybe tomorrow he submits to God and becomes a better Muslim than you are. Because you do not see the future; you do not know what might happen tomorrow.’
Most of these Muslims today (I am not saying all of them) are calling each other Kafir, Munafiq (hypocrite), Mushrik. The only difference between a businessmen and a religious person is that when a businessman swears at people he uses proper swear words and religious people say words like ‘Munafiq’, ‘Kafir’, and ‘Mushrik’. Both are swear words – religious people think, ‘Oh, we cannot say the usual swear words, because people will say “Oh his tongue is dirty for 40 days.”’ One person actually said it to me, ‘We don’t actually mean he is Kafir, we mean it as a swear word.’ I mean, if the child is disobedient, the parents say, ‘Shaitan (devil), get out of here.’ In Pakistani culture, when a child is active, we say, ‘Oh he is a big Shaitan.’ He is a small baby, why are you calling that baby Shaitan? In my country, if you do things really fast, they say, ‘Don’t do anything fast because the Shaitan is really fast.’
You will see on national days of some countries, people put on some shirts, ‘I’m a proud Pakistani’. Oh, really? What are you proud of, corruption? ‘I am a proud Indian.’ I think there is also a film by this name. Patriotism has been widely misunderstood. Somebody may be doing everything wrong in his country, totally contrary to the requirements of patriotism; however when the national day comes, he will put on an outfit of the flag and he will say, ‘I am the most patriotic person in my country, in the best nation.’
So this understanding that you are the best, this is the root of all evil and then, unfortunately, some of the verses in Quran are so difficult to understand that people always fall into misunderstanding. Like when Quran says,
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ
(Al Imran 3:110)
You are the best Ummah (nation) and I have chosen you to guide humanity.
Good, I have no problem with that. But look at what Muslims are doing today. Are they guiding humanity? Ask anybody this question. According to the Quran you are the best Ummah, bravo. And you have been chosen to guide humanity. Are you really guiding humanity? You are guiding humanity to a graveyard! Yes, the Muslim Ummah was the best, past tense. You are not Muslim Ummah. You don’t know your Prophet; you haven’t seen your Prophet. You don’t know your religion; you don’t know your book. Is there any Muslim country in this world that has really Islamic Culture? Every single nation practises their culture and calls it Islamic Culture.
When I lived in Pakistan, I used to think the Pakistani dress is Muslim dress. I used to think, ‘Prophet Mohammad used to wear this dress. Who would prepare this kind of dress for them?’ This is how you are indoctrined. This is how misleading education is given to you and your brain becomes messed up. I used to be told in my school, ‘For except Muslims, everybody is Kafir (infidel).’ And (may HDE Gohar Shahi forgive me), when I went to India in 1987 for the first time, my friends told me, ‘Don’t touch anything that belongs to a Hindu.’ So from Lahore I boarded a train, and I didn’t eat anything because everything sold on the train and railway station was sold by Hindus. Then I was really, really thirsty. But I was told not to touch anything given by a Hindu. There was a hand pump for water. I said, ‘I can drink water,’ and then a thought came to me, ‘But this water pump must have been installed by a Hindu.’ But then another thought came to my mind, ‘I am going to India, a Hindu state. When this is haram (prohibited), why am I going there? I mean their food is haram, their water is haram, why their country is not haram?’ When this thought came, I jumped up and went to a Hindu boy and said, ‘Give me food.’ And I ate.
This is what is done in our schools in Pakistan. ‘Hindus are Kafir! Don’t touch them, they are untouchable.’ And if you set a Hindu temple on fire in Pakistan, this is regarded as an act of bravery, like you are the soldier of Islam. And Christians in Pakistan - when I was there - because there were no commodes, no flush toilets, only WC’s, the shit would be there, and this was the job of Christians to pick up that shit. No other job was given to them, especially in Punjab. In Karachi, there is a particular place just before Civic Centre, Hassan Square, there is a township called Isa Nagari which means the Township of Jesus. All Christians live there. There was a church. From college, I used to walk through that township and I would spend hours and hours in that church. My friends used to ask me, ‘Are you Kafir? Why are you sitting in a church?’
This is the advantage of being clung to HDE Gohar Shahi: that you no longer think that you are the best. You begin to appreciate the presence of everybody in this world. You become tolerant. You begin to understand that everyone is a human being. Unfortunately in Pakistan, Non-Muslims are not considered to be human beings. I am not exaggerating. They would say, ‘Don’t touch food by Hindus.’ Why? Why is it haram? Food is food! The River of Sindh does not start in Sindh, it comes from India but we drink that water. The Pakistani government buys commodities like sugar from India, and that is halal (permitted), but take food from them and it is haram (prohibited)? It is all messed up. They have no brains.
You know, those who belong to HDE Gohar Shahi, they think they are very lucky but they don’t think they are the best!