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Books and Documents

Interfaith Dialogue

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,"….

 

…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

Courtois 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.....

Muslims who Saved the Lives of Jews
Michael Curtis

What is 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……

 

Interfaith Dialogue Opens One to God and to One’s Neighbours
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……

A Sincere Conversation Can Open Up New Possibilities
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. …..

Reflections on Interfaith Dialogue
Aoren Longchar, New Age Islam

Reflections on Interfaith Dialogue
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 God......

 

Muslims and Christians Can Learn From One Another
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.....

Meet the Muslims Who Sacrificed Themselves to Save Jews and Fight Nazis in World War II
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 Muslims and the ‘West’ In The Light Of the Teachings of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi
Waris Mazhari

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…..

 

Muslims to Dedicate Friday Sermons for the Safety of Christians, Yazidis, Shia and Other Minorities
Mike Ghouse

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…..

The Spirit of Universal Brotherhood
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!......

 
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