Mufti Menk expresses strong dissent of extremist forces and radicals and encourages faith and religious practice as a means of constructive and spiritual growth. A vocal proponent of coexistence, his message is simple: “Do good; help others while preparing for the Hereafter”. Speaking to followers and people across the globe, in his consummate style, he spreads the message of peace and justice.
In his driving speech in Malaysia, the Islamic scholar Dr. Mufti Menk spoke about respecting religious diktats. Using everyday occurrences as examples, the Grand Mufti of Zimbabwe, exhort tolerance and acceptance of our diverse practices and beliefs. Urging the people to realize a larger goal of nation building, he emphasises on the constructive role religion plays in moulding an individual into a well respected and admired member of his society.
Cautioning his audience against violating the religious sentiments of other faiths, he recalled his college days when they sat and eat together over lunch, as young boys. They all knew, “If you have beef burger please don’t offer it to the Hindus.” Exactly the same privilege was enjoyed by the Muslim students about the pork. “There was a mutual respect” said Menk, “and the youth got along with each other to build the nation inspite that they had dietary differences.”
Menk stressed that dietary choice is not a sign of a person being intolerant. “There is a big difference between difference of opinion and intolerance! I can differ with you on a hundred matters while remaining tolerant. I promote tolerance and coexistence.”
Mufti Menk drew the attention to the very fact about cultural unity in Malaysia the Chinese, the Malays with different cultural lifestyle, as well as the Muslims, Buddhists and perhaps Christians along with twenty other faiths are prospering. He illustrated with an example, “A look at the civil service will tell you how people belonging to different race and religions are serving the nation.”
Talking about promotion of each one’s faith he said, “A Christian might want to invite you to Christianity and a Muslim might want to invite you to Islam. As a Buddhist, someone might want to invite you to Buddhism. As Muslims, our duty is to portray and present Islam in a way that, when they see the way we serve the country with dedication and apply honesty and integrity towards all people and not just for the Muslims, they will then realize that this man is indeed a true leader. I am so motivated by the fact that he is a Muslim.”
The fact that most countries and societies are made up of people of multiple faiths is a fact that is often lost among the belligerent voices of the radical forces. As cracks deepen in societies across the globe, along with the lines of faith, race, color and customs, it is indeed heartening to hear highly influential persons, like religious scholars and world leaders, expound the virtues of tolerance.
Dr. Mufti Ismail Menk was born in Zimbabwe. He holds a Doctorate in Social Guidance from Aldersgate University and has studied the Shariah in Madinah. The young scholar has been recognized as one of “The Top 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World”.