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Interfaith Dialogue

If the why of religious diversity is a divine mystery that we are unable to fully comprehend, the how of our approach to religious diversity is something that we can definitely do something about. We can, my friend and I agreed, choose to manage our responses to religious diversity in a skilful way in order to help shape a better world for ourselves, and for everyone else, irrespective of faith….

The religion of Islam, therefore, seeks to preserve the fundamental and eternal messages brought by all those Prophets of the Almighty without exception. In fact, as far as Islam is concerned, one measure of the treasure of the religion is its refusal to seek to exclude or demean the personality or message of any of the Prophets of the Almighty. Islam is unique in affirming that all the Prophets of the Almighty were men of excellence; that they were all sent to show humanity how to rise above its infernal predilections to the ethereal, the seraphic, the spiritual and the beatific in which lies its eternal success…..

 

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan should believe in brotherhood, peace and friendship with all religions. Why then is this state complicit in the killings and discrimination of minorities, especially Christians? Although Pakistan is called the Mumlikat-e-Khudadad, which means a land given by God, the minorities are insecure in this land. Why? The answer is simple: Pakistan is a diverse society but minorities face threats from religious extremists and society’s outdated customs and traditions….

Sharing and Receiving: An Interfaith Weekend
Victor Edwin SJ, New Age Islam

Sharing and Receiving: An Interfaith Weekend
Victor Edwin SJ, New Age Islam

Through discussion, sharing and presentations the participants emphasized that India is Salad bowl and diversity marks her uniqueness and enhances her beauty. Diversity is clearly a part of God’s design and purpose for our universe and for us humans. India has the unique distinction of having had the experience of diversity of cultures and religions for several thousand years. It has led to opening many new doors and creating many opportunities for new and beautiful ways of integration and mutual enrichment.....

 

When the West Bengal Board of Madrasa Education Act, 1994, came into force, giving statutory powers to the Board of Madrasa Education, the state became the “first in India to formalize the secularization of madrasa education”, with the syllabus mirroring that of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. With high madrasa education being treated on a par with general education, non-Muslim students began joining in greater numbers. According to WBBME secretary Syed Nurus Salam, almost 10% of West Bengal’s 512 high madrasas have Hindu headmasters; about 18% of all teachers are Hindu, while Hindu students like Haldar and her schoolmate Ruby Sarkar have been front-rankers over the years…..

 

Welcome to Turkey, Your Holiness
Mustafa Akyol

The secular mind often has a hard time in grasping the nature of the challenge, therefore often concluding, “religion is the problem.” Yet the very history of your own institution, the Holy See, is a correction to such simplistic views. There have been times when the Catholic Church, a bit like the militant Islamists of today, launched holy wars on “infidels” and punished “heretics” in brutal ways. But the same Catholic Church today opens soup kitchens for the poor and provides healthcare for children. The very history of your faith, in other words, proves that religion can be a force for both good and evil…..

It wasn’t the first time the Muslim call to prayer was echoed in the Washington National Cathedral, however, last week marked the first time a Friday prayer service was held in the church. It was a symbolic event exemplifying tolerance, coexistence and shared humanity. The cathedral is a marvellous architectural beauty; the magnanimity of its façade is complemented by the warmth of its hosting clergies’ hearts. On Friday morning, serene and inspired faces walked through the cathedral's arches, many of them Muslim women wearing their Hijabs passing the pews to the front of the grand hall where prayer rugs were unfurled facing Makkah…..

 

What’s long been an overtly political conflict with a religious shadow -- one where talk is in terms of borders, settlements, checkpoints, bombs, and nationality -- has recently flipped on its head. Debates over access to sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, where Muslims say the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven and where Jews believe their holy ancient temples were located, have spurred accusations of both sides provoking a religious war. Clergy and interfaith activists, such as Judelman, are asking how faith can play a role in easing the tensions. “Our conflict has become both a national one and a religious one. Religious extremism, with the help of the mainstream media, is carrying the day,”…..

 

Religion, according to the Quran and Hadith, is religion of self-following, that is, one should follow the teachings of Islam in one’s individual life. However, the political interpretation of Islam wrongly made religion a subject of external implementation, that is, the commandments of Islam should be implemented on others by force or by ruling over them. It is this interpretation that has led to violence. The recent violence being perpetrated by outfits such as the ISIS is an example of this misinterpretation…..

 

After prayers and a kosher-Halal lunch at a Washington synagogue, the clergy resolved to limit the feel-good dialogue and spent the afternoon trading ideas both tried and novel. Among them: joint projects to feed the homeless, basketball games between Muslim and Jewish teens, Judaism 101 courses for Muslims and Islam 101 for Jews.....

 

Gülen life was shaped by his family, Sufism and Sufi leaders and writings of Said Nursi. He shed some light on Gülen’s understanding of Islam and the solutions that he identifies for the societal problems.  Kaparov indicated that the major problems which world faces today are illiteracy, poverty and polarization and described that Hizmet Movement is putting its full efforts in tackling these problems by establishing educational institutions, business houses and dialogue organizations world over in more than 150 countries…..

Muslim rule had its moment of glory during the reign of Emperor Akbar when faith whether of the ruler or the ruled was not allowed to interfere with affairs of the state. Before Akbar Baba Guru Nanak, a true son of the soil and a great seer, emerged who while combining the finest elements of Hinduism and Islam challenged the ritualism of the both. His teachings and practice inspired a new faith now known as Sikhism. The followers of the Guru Nanak had to bear the brunt of Mogul wrath due to the perceived political challenge they posed. But there was also a section of Muslim political and religious elite sympathetic to the Sikh cause which included luminaries such as Hazrat Mian Mir, Prince Dara Shikoh and Bulleh Shah…..

 

Muslims Wrote Masterpieces in Hindi in Medieval India
Raziuddin Aquil

Of particular significance is the composition of a huge body of Sufi poetry of love, Premakhyan, in Awadhi dialect of medieval Hindi. Beginning with Mulla Daud's Chandayan as early as 14th century and reaching its climax with Malik Muhammad Jaisi's Padmavat in the 16th century, with a large number of other scintillating examples in between and after, this literature could captivate Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Jaisi's voluminous text also appropriated almost the entire Awadhi version of Ram-Katha then circulating in the public domain. Thirty years later, this was indeed the inspiration for Tulsidas to garner all the glories with his Awadhi text par excellence, Ramcharit Manas….

 
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.....

Political Interpretation of Islamic Doctrines Is Root Cause of Chaos in the Islamic World Today, Says Sufi Scholar Sheikh Abu Bakr Ahmed Musliar

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. …

Canada's Tolerance Misplaced
Mahfooz Kanwar

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 New Switzerland of Asia Can Become a Joint Victory Stand for India and Pakistan (Part – II)
Hamid Mir

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…..

Towards Joint Victory: Sufis Are a Binding Factor between Afghanistan, Pakistan and India Part - I
Hamid Mir

Warriors are 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.....

Some Muslims 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 Bangladesh)……

 

A Reform Rabbi Learns From Prophet Muhammad
Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Muhammad 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. ....

The Truth about Whether Islam Is a Religion of Violence or Peace
Milad Milani

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 on Love Jihad: Intermarriage Is Not Jihad, It Is India
Saif Ali Khan

Ambedkar said 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,"….

 
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  • This is difficult, but I think we should discuss.'
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  • Having started it, let us complete the discussion on creation. (50:38) We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in Six Days, ....
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  • Hats Off again repeats his lie of Muslims in any country demanding special treatment etc etc etc. Muslims follow the laws ....
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  • Poor Hats Off is now reduced to nitpicking! He is now badmouthing psychotherapy because the question of his oedipal conflicts was once raised ....
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  • You are very poor in your observations Hats Off. I do psychoanalyze people but only when I have sufficient data. I am never hasty about ...
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  • Is there any comparison for the historic ill-treatment by the Christians of their Jews and Muslims? How many Muslims...
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  • Dear Aayina, I have never claimed the the Qur'an alone is the truth from God or a divine scripture. If I did so I will committing ...
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  • Deer Sudeep Kumar ji Agreed with your views - which is put slightly differently as below in my referenced article: "To put it in the wake of ...
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  • Nasser Ahmed sb, I think we are on the same page as regards fundamental precepts of Islam as well as the approach to the ...
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  • Quran 42:43 mentions that Allah has a high preference for Muslims to show patience and forgiveness to others. The following is ....
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  • Quran 2:129 mentions that Allah is almighty. The following is the extract: (سورة البقرة, Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #129)-Mohsin ....
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  • Naseer Ahmad, Yes, you quote the verse that a day is a thousand years. How could it link with science that mentions it takes ....
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  • The Khalifa-e- rashidin or the first four Caliphs were godly people and not born rulers or politicians. They did not take the simplest of precautions ...
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