Reflection on Tolerance (Cultural, Social, Political and Religious)

Reflection on Tolerance (Cultural, Social, Political and Religious)


Zoroaster is a Persian Prophet and the founder of the monotheistic Zoroastrianism religion (1500 BCE). Zoroaster (1700-1500 BCE) was the first to introduce a monotheistic religion that believed in the worship of one God. He interacted with several cultures during his time preaching in Iran, Balkh, and several parts of central Asia. Zoroaster produced religious writings (Gathas) and poetry written in Iranian and Persian. Zoroastrianism is known as one of the most tolerant religions, and there are several principles of Zoroastrianism that have inspired contemporary civilizations and writings of human ethics and morality. The doctrine emphasizes the need for respect, justice, honesty, and unity among the human race despite religious differences. The most critical ideology taught by Zoroaster was the concept of goodness. A human being’s virtue was to reflect in his thought, deeds, and words. Zoroaster argued that “the right path is the only path to humanity.” According to Zoroaster humanity is a concept that transcends religion.

Although the religion is majorly built on Iranian and Persian culture and literature, through interaction, it was adopted by the Median culture (by King Darius) and Achamaenid societies. Before the Sassanid era, the religion hailed language tolerance as religious teachings were written and translated in different languages including Persian, Iranian, and Pahlavi among others. However, during the corrupt rule of Ardeshir, this was abolished, and Zoroastrianism became a tool of propagating evil political ideology. Zoroastrians engaged in religious and cultural interactions with Jews, and as a result, the Jews adopted the belief in the concept of eternal life and dual forces of life. The Christian and Muslim religions also passed the same ideas as well as monotheistic beliefs. Apart from firm roots in Persia, Zoroastrians have spread to societies in the broader Asia (India, and Iran), and North America (Vancouver). Zoroastrianism was a popular religion in the 15th century. However, the doctrine continues to decline partly due to its insistence on the need for intermarriages with other faiths, thus reducing its population of followers who end up converting to other religions. As such, the Zoroastrians appreciate interactions with others despite different ideologies.


Mohammad Jalal-uddin Molavi Balkhi Rumi, popularly known as Rumi or Khodavandegar was born in Balk, Khorasan. Apart from his inspirational religious ideologies, his fame is also attributed to the fact that he is a descendant of the Islamic Prophet Mohammad. Rumi and his family were forced to flee to Konya from his native home after a fall out with the king. Persian culture played an influential role in the development of Rumi’s religious ideologies. Rumi greatly emphasized tolerance and love that are essential aspects of Persian culture. Together with his family, Rumi traveled across several Persian cities where he interacted with several societies and got inspired by different scholars and philosophers. He believed in the unity and respect for the human race, despite sociological difference such as nationality, race, and religion. Rumi came up with “sama,’’ dances where he encouraged participation of members from different cultural, social, and religious backgrounds including Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Jews, and Persians.

According to Rumi, all religious orientations exhibited a form of credibility. As such, his belief in religion could fit in to seventy-three different religious ideologies. Rumi was a universal individual, and he did not associate with a specific culture, society, religion or language. He appreciated and embraced human diversity. He believed that there is a need for mutual understanding and like-mindedness among different communities in the world. Rumi had great linguistic and religious intellect, and his poems were recited in Arabic, Turkish, Greek and Persian. His works also inspired different religious orientations including Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Judaism. Rumi’s works reflected his belief in love, tolerance, and humanity. Consequently, he had a massive following all over the world. He argued that faith in God should be a unifying factor. Despite numerous criticism, Rumi provides a defense on religious tolerance. Rumi advocated for the peaceful coexistence of Muslim and other religions in Medieval era criticizing the conflict between Muslims and Christians.


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