Spaces of/for Oneness
Roshan Shah, New Age Islam
Not identifying himself with any particular caste, religion or nationality, he saw the different prophets or realised beings, whom different communities across the world claim to venerate and follow, as conveying the same Truth and having come from the same Source. He spoke about Krishna and Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad as fellow messengers sent by the One. That’s one reason why decades after he dropped the body, the ashram he established continues to attract people from diverse faith backgrounds……
During the month of Muharram, the Shias of Sindh in Pakistan, like their counterparts in the world, hold mourning ceremonies in the memory of martyrdom of Hadhrat Hussain and other Ahl-e-Bayt. In a small town in Thar Desert of Sindh, Pakistan, the local Shias have assembled to attend a mourning ceremony (Majlis-e-Uza) in which Imam Hussain’s journey from Madina along with his family members and companions and finally their martyrdom is narrated by a Zakir (narrator) in an atmosphere heavy with sorrow and tears. But this ceremony is different in the sense that the Zakir in this Imambargah is not a Shia Muslim but a Hindu named Ravi Shankar. He reveres Imam Hussain and Ahl-e-Bayt and participates in the Mehfil-e-Uza as a Zakir every year in this Imambargah. He has been taking part in Majlis-e-Uza since 1970 when he was quite young. Now he has retired from a government job and with the money he got after retirement which was around Rs seven Lakh, he built this Imambargah and has devoted his life to Imam Hussain and Ahl-e-Bayt.....
The leading Sunni-Sufi cleric of South India, who happened to be the first Indian cleric to issue fatwa against ISIS, Sheikh Abu Bakr Ahmed Musliar, popularly known as Kanthapuram AP Ustad, led Karnataka Yatra’ (Journey of Karnataka) on the theme of “Ehteram-e-Insaniyat” (respect for mankind) with an aim to restore the respect for mankind instilling essential humanitarian values in the minds of people, particularly Muslim masses. The prime objective of this journey is to spread the message of humanitarian concern to every nook and corner of the country. It is also aimed at mobilizing people, particularly Muslim community, for the good of humanity. “Respect for nation” is the mission of this grand historical and non-political journey, says Shaikh Abu Bakr Ahmad Kanthapuram AP Ustad. …
In a multicultural society, it is the responsibility of minorities to adjust to the majority. It does not mean that minorities have to to-tally amalgamate with the majority. They can practise some of their cultural traditions within their homes --their backstage behaviour. However, when outside of their homes, their front stage behaviour should resemble mainstream Canadian behaviour. Whoever comes to Canada must learn the limits of our system. We do not kill our daughters or other female members of our families who refuse to wear Hijab, Niqab or Burqa which are not mandated by the Qur'an anyway. We do not kill our daughters if they date the "wrong" men...
The people of
India and Pakistan have started collaborating with each other in Afghanistan.
They are defying the policies of those who order firing and shelling on the
India-Pakistan border. The new Switzerland of Asia can become a joint victory
stand for India and Pakistan. If Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi can
share a Nobel Peace Prize, then surely India and Pakistan can also share
victory against terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan…..
controversial in our history but Sufis are not. Sufis spread the message of
peace in this region. Hazrat Ali Hajwairi (Data Ganj Bakhsh) came to Lahore
from Ghazni (Afghanistan). His follower Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti
(Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz) came to Delhi from Herat (Afghanistan). These Sufis
still enjoy respect in the whole region by the followers of different religions.
While many of the warriors are not our mutual heroes, the Sufis are a binding
factor between Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.....
came to Sachal, one day, and said, “A Hindu in a village is become a Muslim.
Why won’t you rejoice?” Sachal smiled and said, “Ah! my friends, if, indeed, a
mullah had become a true Muslim, by being transformed in the fire of devotion,
it would have been a matter of joy!”....
The Nath Pantha
rejected communal or sectarian hierarchy or untouchability that marked the
Indian or the Hindu society. In the Guru-Shishya Parampara that the Naths
believed in did not bar Muslims from initiation into the sect. Among the disciples of Gorakhnath, there were
both Hindus and Muslims. Later, Baul sect which was influenced by Natha Pantha
also adopted this philosophy. A Hindu Baul can have a Muslim disciple and a
Muslim Baul can have a Hindu disciple or Guru. Peer Haji Ratan or Ratannath was
one of the Muslim disciples of Gorakhnath who is said to have performed pilgrimage
at Makkah. In the folk culture of Mewat in India, Muslim Mirasis sing praise of
Gorakhnath as a Muslim peer. One of the followers of Nath Pantha, Karim Shah
spread the message of Nath Pantha in the eastern districts of Bengal (now in
Rabbi Allen S. Maller
teaches us that claims of religious superiority are wrong, for no human in this
world, and perhaps even in the world to come, will know who the best prophet
is. Such arrogant comparisons do not help anyone to become a better believer in
God but only serve to polarize believers by inciting partisan fervour. As a
Reform Rabbi, I can state that all Reform Rabbis would applaud this teaching of
Prophet Muhammad because we are all aware that during the Middle Ages all three
religions claimed religious superiority over each other. ....
Looking at the
three major religious traditions that believe in one God (Christianity, Islam
and Judaism), all three make reference in their religious texts to both
violence and peace. So the fact that a religious text contains violent verses
doesn’t make it a violent religion. But it’s also a fact that a religious text
containing peaceful verses doesn’t make that religion peaceful either…..
Saif Ali Khan
the only way to annihilate caste is intermarriage. It is only through
intermarriage that the real Indians of tomorrow can be truly equipped to take
our nation forward with the right perspective. I am the product of such a mixed
marriage and my life has been full of Eid and Holi and Diwali. We were taught
to do Adaab and Namaste with equal reverence. It is sad that too much
importance is given to religion, and not enough to humanity and love. My
children were born Muslim but they live like Hindus (with a Pooja Ghar at
home), and if they wanted to be Buddhist, they would have my blessing. That’s
how we were brought up. We are a blend, this great country of ours…..
The motto of
Gordon United Church is "Love wastefully" -- a charge to promote
inclusivity at all costs. Thus Barnes took the tools at his disposal -- in this
case the sign outside his church -- to promote a different kind of attitude
toward Muslims in the community. "I wanted the church to be seen to offer
a different message, to be neighbourly and to offer welcome,"….
…the Jews and
Muslims have a common history because of their roots in the Middle East.
"In Kolkata, Jewish families hired Muslim cooks because they ate only
Halal meat. Hindu families would not want to work in Jewish homes because of
the meat being cooked. Our music, food habits are also very similar and people
tend to forget that the Arab world is the seat of the Jewish community. Even
the early immigrants looked like present-day Arabs, before they began to
reflect a Judeo-British identity….
A Positive Approach to Islam
A. Amrita Anandi, New Age Islam
desired and prayed for the grace that at some point of time, a Jesuit would
take up the in-depth study of Indian Sufism. God answered Courtois' prayer in
the person of Jackson. Jackson is one of the foremost Christian scholars on
Indian Sufism. Second, Jackson was inspired to 'reach out to Muslims' after
listening to a lecture given by Fr Putz SJ.....
compelling in this complex narrative is the modesty as well as the enormous
courage of the Albanians who risked their lives for BESA. In a poor country,
perhaps the poorest in Europe, the Righteous Muslim individuals did what they
thought was right and passed on the promises they had made to their children.
At this moment when the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is exhibited repugnant
brutality and evil, BESA is an inspiring story of Muslim heroes who opposed
inhumane terrorism and treasured human life……
Victor Edwin SJ, New Age Islam
Christians appreciate the Muslims’ commitment to prayer. It is truly humbling to find Muslims offer Namaaz in appointed times wherever they are: in trains, in train stations, hospitals, and in shops. They also value their dedication to fasting during the month of Ramzan and paying Zakat and feeding poor. Such loyalty in worship is quite impressive. However, most Christians know little about the attitude with which Muslims are expected to prepare for worship and the obligation of right conduct that is demanded of them……
Victor Edwin SJ, New Age Islam
It is also interesting to note that he attributed the goodness he found in Muslim faith to the activity of God. He has charted a new course in the Christian-Muslim relationship when he recognized the presence of God in the faith of Muslims. This openness he showed towards Muslims also led him to study the Qur’an. He also advised those who are in interested in approaching Muslims that they should give attention to the Sacred Scriptures of these two religions: the Qur’an and the Bible. He recognized that God works in the hearts of men and women through their scriptures. His attitude points to the importance of listening to the prompting of the God’s Spirit in the Scripture of the others in interfaith relations. …..
Aoren Longchar, New Age Islam
We all gather
together in the same prayer hall and worship together in the name of God who
created us all. In our community worship, we learn together more about God.
Although we are different in terms of our cultural and religious backgrounds,
we all have the same desire to be in relationship with God. This helps me to
appreciate the honouring of God in the midst of diversity. I am also enriched
by insights from other religions that I am gaining here, which helps me be less
complacent as a Christian. It enables me to reflect on and develop new
understandings of my own faith, and, ultimately, to enhance my faith in
Victor Edwin SJ, New Age Islam
.... Muslims should learn from Christians that art of selfless service. The service institution in education, health and social sectors rendered great service to nation building, she said, “personally I feel indebted to the Christian ethos for establishing the institutions of Hospital, Nursing, Caring. This is one of the biggest contribution of Christianity to the world and I bow my head in gratitude for this”. However, as a feminist thinker, she found it strange that the Catholic Church do not allow ‘divorce’ of estranged couples.....
Noor Inayat Khan
Noor Inayat Khan led a very unusual life. She was born in 1914 to an Indian Sufi mystic of noble lineage and an American half-sister of Perry Baker, often credited with introducing yoga into America. As a child, she and her parents escaped the chaos of revolutionary Moscow in a carriage belonging to Tolstoy’s son. Raised in Paris in a mansion filled with her father’s students and devotees, Khan became a virtuoso of the harp and the Veena, dressed in Western clothes, graduated from the Sorbonne and published a book of children’s tales — all before she was 25.....
Dialogue between believers in different faiths was also necessary to combat the greatest challenge of our times—atheism and materialism. To Shaikh Nursi, these were the common enemies of all communities who believe in God. Absolute denial of God, he wrote, was now at its peak. A major aim of dialogue was to counter this assault of atheism. This seems to suggest that Shaikh Nursi regarded political problems that underlie some conflicts between Muslims and the West to be secondary to this issue of countering the atheist assault......
We should not give up in raising our voice against the extremists and work to create a new mentality of living together Shiites, Sunnites, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Christians and Yazidis in peace and harmony, therefore we also have to take offensive action at the ideological level with Islamic world to stop the veneer of religious legitimacy and financing and sending militants…..
In behalf of Muslims, I strongly condemn the evil acts of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi for terrorizing Christians, Yazidis, Shia and other minorities in Iraq. He is an evil man and must be caught and processed for his crimes against humanity, there is Genocide in making, and I recommend a bounty be posted to get him dead or alive…..
Dada J.P. Vaswani
Peace cannot be achieved by politics, power and diplomacy. True peace is possible only through the spirit of service. If I had a million tongues, I would appeal to you with each one of them, especially to my young friends who are going to be tomorrow’s leaders and opinion makers—seek not power! Seek service! Let us do as much good as we can, to as many as we can, in as many ways as we can, on many occasions as we can and as long as we can!......
Dada J.P. Vaswani
No matter what our backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, faiths and histories, we are involved in the future of the world together. Unless everyone achieves the desired goals, there can be no lasting peace and security. Every missed opportunity, every failed goal would be a root cause of global insecurity. When we achieve the goal of universal peace, as well as the more specific developmental goals, we would be eliminating the 20th century concept of ‘first’, ‘second’ and ‘third’ world countries….