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Books and Documents

Interfaith Dialogue

On the arrival of the enraged horde, a Muslim leader, Haji Usman, stood between them and the church. He sensibly took a risk, even with the possibility that he would lose his life. In the end, he climbed a ladder triumphantly. The mob cancelled its plans and dismissed itself. The independence of a nation, as far as it is generically defined, must allow freedom to all parts of a society. There should even be understanding and clemency granted for all people who previously were categorized as the oppressors. -- Khairil Azhar

Wars kill in more ways than one, and the longer they go on the more do the ways multiply. India needs to do more not only because with the former hegemonic powers turning into predators a vacuum is developing from Pakistan to the Maghreb. It has a duty to do more also because it can do more. -- Prem Shankar Jha

The dialogue ended with five recommendations for future interfaith projects: The need to build trust, address issues with open transparency, acquire knowledge and understanding of the other faiths, and to come up with joint projects that can serve their communities and tackle common issues of major concern.  -- Samar Fatany

The Hindus are the first nation with a Shariah (divinely revealed way of life) and the Muslims are the last one. The wisdom of God has brought the two nations together in India. The original name of Hinduism is Sanatan dharma or Shaswat dharma. Sanatan means that which has come straight and Shaswat means that which has come down from the heaven directly. The Sanatan dharm or Shaswat dharm are the Hindi synonyms of Deen-e-Qaiyim. In Gita, the word ‘swadharm’ and Swabhawnit karm’ are used to mean one that is taught by the nature and not by parents. The Quran calls Islam the natural religion. It is our faith that every prophet presented the religion of Islam to his nation. -- Asim Sabri (Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Desk)

Are you ready for stories of violence in the Bible? The fact is that all revealed religions are just that "revealed" and therefore, open to interpretations by the adherents. It is the reason we have so many denominations in Christianity because we do not all agree on the meaning of a particular passage of our scripture. The fact remains that religion remains a source of conflict in the modern world because of ethnocentrism. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu eloquently stated in his new book, "God is not a Christian", we belong and practice a particular religion because of the accident of our birth. If our parents were born in Saudi Arabia instead of southern Nigeria, chances are that you and I will be Muslims today and how we practice that religion would depend on our level of education and socio-economic status. We have this tendency to evangelise and see our culture and religion as "the way" and all others as savages. -- Ezekiel Ette

In his first Christmas address in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI called on the world not to shut Christ out of Christmas. "May his birth not finds us busy celebrating Christmas forgetting that he (Jesus) is the very person at the centre of the feast The Pope may see "DIY religion" and secularism as a threat, but for many young Indians it's becoming a way of life. "My friends join me in Christmas party and I celebrate Diwali and Id with them. For us, celebrating the festival together and with our families is more important than following its religious message," says Samantha, 21. "For me, it's more of a family celebration, and that's the way it should be. I am sure Jesus doesn't mind it," says the Chennai student. In the past, the festivals were secular. -- Shobhan Saxena

And here I do wish to share with readers in Pakistan only some portions of a memorable speech that late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad delivered in Jama Masjid, Delhi, on 23 October 1947:  He said: Was it not only yesterday that on the banks of the Yamuna, your caravans performed wuzu? …Remember, Delhi has been nurtured with your blood. Brothers! Create a basic change in yourselves. Today, your fear is as misplaced as your jubilation was yesterday…” That is why I add that we are, India and Pakistan are both integral to South Asia, irremediably; as parts of it, though, now not as conjoined twins; and to paraphrase Churchill, “We are linked but not compromised, we are interested and associated” but as separates.-- Jaswant Singh

The truth is: Father Christmas and I go back a long, long way. It’s probably religiously incorrect to say so in modern-day Pakistan, but I remember a time when men with beards were a rarity in the country except for the appearance in December of a motley group of Santas. But times change. The country now marches to a stricter, more austere tune. Pakistan seems less enticing and attractive. Most years, I’d rather spend Christmas in Europe. My childhood fascination with Santa, however, remains alive. -- Shada Islam

Pakistani Media and Anti-Americanism

 

Sikhism, as one of the youngest religions in the world, was born in Punjab (India) and Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikh religion. Islam was born as a new faith in Arabia during the 7th Century and Prophet Muhammad was its founder. Guru Nanak realised the suffering of Indian people under the yoke of dual oppression by Brahmanic and Islamic priestly classes on the one hand and the contemporary rulers, on the other. Prophet Muhammad found the Arabian people divided into hundreds of tribes engaged in internecine warfare. The people were superstitious and believed in idol worship, magic, astrology and cult practices. -- Dr. HS Virk

Secular commentators dismiss religion as a malign force in the world. But from Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi to the Arab spring, faith is inspiring the new peaceful protest. "Allah doth accept of the sacrifice of those who are righteous. If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear Allah, the Cherisher of the worlds. For me, I intend to let thee draw on thyself my sin as well as thine, for thou wilt be among the Companions of the Fire and that is the reward of those who do wrong."Quran, 5:27-29 -- Mehdi Hasan

 

Nonetheless, in many Muslim countries, large celebrations mark Mawlid, the lunar holiday for the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, so celebrating Jesus isn't without precedent. "I have spoken to many Christian Americans who have no idea that we believe in Jesus and that we believe he is the savior. We believe will come back and unite everyone together," says Safi. "I say to them, 'I hope you know he is as holy to us as he is to you. We don't believe he is the Son of God, but he is a very important prophet.'" -- Jaweed Kaleem

The creation of Pakistan was a consequence of a political struggle as well as negotiations with the other stakeholders. Hence the birth of Pakistan should have been a completely peaceful event. However, on the contrary, the entire region went into flames with mass killings. It is another big lie like many others in our official narrative that tens of thousands of people offered their sacrifices for the liberation of Pakistan. Nobody in fact sacrificed anything. The “killings” were direct fallout of riots which were sparked to loot and establish ownership over properties belonging to other communities. Neither any of the parties behaved humanely in that pursuit, nor the political establishment of the newly created states could stop bloodshed. The birth of Pakistan was a peaceful event yet the desire to acquire assets through force transformed the process into a game of blood, loot and arson. Hence the very purpose for which the state came into existence died down at the very beginning. -- Arshad Mahmood

This blog post is a response to an article published in The Express Tribune by Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy titled: “Deepening the Pakistan-India divide.” Hence I address this to him. I am not a professor like you who gets an invite and a letter to give a lecture at some university. Nor am I an artist who gets to show a business contract for facilitating the visa. In both these cases, to be able to get an Indian visa is much easier than it is for me. I am an ordinary Pakistani who wants to visit my relatives in India. And every year the daunting question arises: What if I do not get the visa? Days before I fill up the forms, my soul shudders with this fear. But then, why do I want to go to India so desperately each year? No, I do not want to visit some old relatives whom I got  separated from during the partition, nor do I want to see my ‘virtual’ friend or my distant cousins who I reconnected with on Facebook or Twitter. No, Sir. I seek a visa to visit my parents and brothers. You read it correct – my parents. -- Dr Ilmana Fasih

“There's no question that humanity has diversified and is diverse,” Paprock says. “Here we are in a culture that we are literally seconds from communicating around the world with Facebook, Tweeting, and Internet.  We end up connecting with people all over the world — very diverse peoples. ... “My personal reason for being involved is the Christian message of love of others regardless of whether they are my friend, a stranger, an enemy, or a neighborhood,” Paprock says. “The bottom line issue is that we have to live with one another on this planet at this time when so many dynamic things are happening and we have to find a way to live together in harmony and peace to the best of our ability.” -- A. David Dahmer (Photo: Selena Fox)

The biggest part of Thanksgiving is sharing and caring. It is a day to express friendship and kindness to those who are struggling with the difficulties of life. It ought to bring out the best in us for others. The Native Americans believe that the world is one large family, an interconnected and interdependent web of life, where each one of us is a strand. What affects one, affects the other. It behooves us to care for each other for the web to remain intact. Indeed, Hinduism titles this beautifully: Vasudaiva Kutumbukum -- the whole world is one family. Walk the Middle path, said Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), just have enough desires that you can fulfill them, happiness stays with you. My mother used to say "don't stretch your feet beyond your sheet," meaning, stay within your means. Every faith and every family is enriched with such an advice. -- Mike Ghouse

Eating your cake and having it too may be a tempting thought. But you can’t have it both ways. The sooner Muslims realise it, the better for the Ummah... and the image of Islam. A Christian pastor — Reverend Chander Mani Khanna, the presbyter-in-charge of All Saints’ Church in Srinagar — is being hounded both by the state and society for his “crime-cum-sin” of converting, allegedly through inducements, a number of Muslim youth from the Valley to Christianity. What’s Islamic law and a Sharia court doing in a secular democratic polity? Your guess is as good as mine. The J&K government, it seems, knows better. ….. the Islamisers should be reminded that Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees to all citizens “the right freely to profess, practice and propagate (their) religion.” Perhaps they could also be reminded of the Quranic injunction: “La ikraha fiddin” (There is no compulsion in religion). -- Javed Anand

Jesus in the Quran
S. Arshad, NewAgeIslam.com

Jesus in the Quran
S. Arshad, NewAgeIslam.com

Influenced by the Greek and Hindu mythology, some baseless and vulgar beliefs about God had found way into the Arab belief system. They had conjured up relations between God and angels and djinns as happens with the Greek and Hindu gods and goddesses. To them, angels were women and the daughters of djinns were their mothers. In other words, they had conjured up matrimonial relationships between God and the djinns. They considered God also having human traits of personality. God’s being beyond the principle of cause and effect was something beyond their imagination. On this count, the Quran chides those who spread such vulgar and absurd beliefs: “Now ask them (O Muhammad): "Are there (only) daughters for your Lord and sons for them?"  “ (As-Saaffaat: 149) On another occasion, the Quran says: “And they make the angels who themselves are slaves to the Most Beneficent (Allah) females. Did they witness their creation? Their evidence will be recorded, and they will be questioned! “(Al Zukhruf: 19) -- S. Arshad, NewAgeIslam.com

 

Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never harm you.  Rubbish!  There is great power in words.  Words shape our world and our worldview. They can unite or divide. They can hurt or they can heal. The Bible (John 1:1) reads “In the beginning was The Word” and the Quran teaches that everything came into existence with The Word. Allah (God) uses an honorable term in the Quran Ahlil Kitab —People of the Book, referring to the children of Israel and the followers of Jesus, The Son of Mary.  Yet all too often I hear people referring to themselves as “Non-Muslims”, “Non-Christians” or “Non-Jews”.  These are definitions of who “they are not”.  If I attended a dinner party and the host introduced me as their “non-white friend” I don’t think I’d be around long enough to shake hands. It would be on the level of something Malcolm X once said, “Called me the “N-Word” so much I thought it was my name”. Let us recall that in 615 CE the prophet Muhammad, pbuh, said to his oppressed followers, ‘Go to Habasha (Ethiopia), there you will find a Christian King who is just’. Quran revealed that the whole world is a place for prayer.  Many American Muslims viewed the United States as the early Muslims refugees from Mecca viewed Ethiopia. -- Imam Johari Abdul-Malik

“KARACHI, India” was a talking point and a source of tremendous national hurt and humiliation when my generation was at school — letters written by foreigners often carried an address which ended with “Karachi, India”. The government of the day would come under harsh attack for not making the world know that Karachi was in Pakistan and not India. Hearts choked and people hit the ceiling when an address ended with “Karachi, Pakistan, India”. Those were heady days, and we lived under the spell of the euphoria over Pakistan’s emergence. Those who had opposed Pakistan had no face to show and were hiding in rat holes. So, Pakistanis, carry on! Irrespective of what you are, irrespective of your misdeeds and crimes against yourselves, rejoice, for Pakistan, your country, remains “important”, “pivotal” and — unfortunately — ubiquitous. -- Muhammad Ali Siddiqi

 

Guru Nanakji’s birthday has a special significance to me, indeed, the religion we called Sikhism, started out as an interfaith movement, where he primarily brought people from different religions together and taught common sense goodness; serving humanity and caring for the neighbours. The Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs is a stories and guidance in poetry composed by Hindu and Muslim spiritual teachers. Indeed, the land for the Golden Temple was a grant by King Akbar and the first brick for the Golden Temple was laid out by a Muslim fakir. Happy Gurpurab to all the Sikhs and to everyone who is a well-wisher of the ideals of Sikhism…. I hope on this auspicious occasion of Gurpurab, the Muslims and Sikhs make a genuine effort to pay tribute to the spirit of Guru Nanak Devji and remove the misunderstandings that erupted from a wrong translation of Quran that happened 350 years ago and has rightfully etched in the psyche of Sikhs. In an article in Huffington post about Kentucky Senator David William’s bigotry I wrote, “No one has a right to belittle other's faiths. If Senator Williams has a problem let it be his problem and one should malign Christianity for his bigotry.” Likewise, King Aurangzeb’s bigotry should not be slapped on Muslims. I have nothing to do with it, nor does any Muslim anything to do with him. Sadly there was a lot of bloodshed during the partition of India that has deepened the ill-will among a few Muslims and a few Sikhs. It is time to forgive for our own sake, as it will release the tension and apprehension within us and free us to deal with each other as free individuals. -- Mike Ghouse

The present day Islamophobia driven greenhorn scholarship draws on the Qur’anic verses with exhortations to kill the Mushriks (technically ‘mushrikin’, translated as unbelievers, disbelievers, idol worshippers) to project Islam as a violent religion that permits killing the ‘Mushriks’. Some radical groups in India fan communal hatred and violence by quoting these verses, applying the word ‘al-mushrikin’ to the Hindus. “He is the One God, hidden in all beings, all-pervading, the Self within all beings, watching over all works, the witness, the perceiver, the only One, free from all qualities (that humans attribute to Him).” Svetesvatra Upanishad 6.11. “The hypocrite men and women are of the same kind. They enjoin the evil, and forbid the good, and hold back their hands (from giving to the needy). They are oblivious of God and God is oblivious of them, and without doubt, they are the deviants (fasiqun) (9:67). -- Muhammad Yunus, NewAgeIslam.com

The regularity of communal tensions and clashes in India is unfortunately accepted as part of the country's fabric. Communal frenzy, as seen in Gujarat, Delhi, Mumbai, Kandhamal and post-Babri Masjid, was considered a problem of law and order. Terrorist attacks on the public, by those belonging to different religions, also keep apprehension alive. Yet solutions to problems that beget such acts do not seem to be India's top priority. The proposed Communal Violence Bill has divided political parties, with undercurrents that are strongly coloured by religion. Religious bigotry divides people, leading to misunderstanding, intolerance, fear, hatred, social ostracism, violence and loss of livelihood and life. Yet post-mortem on major upheavals fails to focus on societal factors, which are responsible for widespread endemic tensions within communities. While ethnic and religious tensions exist in many societies, the Partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan, based on religion, was a watershed. -- K. S. Jacob

SHIA-SUNNI UNITY! There are many who spread propaganda about our Sunni brothers living in Iran. People need to understand there is NO SUCH THING, as "Shia" or "Sunni" mosque in Iran. WE ALL GO TO THE SAME MOSQUES. The ONLY reason Iran is: - the most scientifically advanced country in the middle east- the strongest military power in the middle east- the ONLY country in the Middle East to send a ROCKET INTO SPACE, - the strongest supporter of Palestine- becoming a SUPERPOWER is because of its UNITY. And all those who try to promote disunity in Iran, and claim Sunnis "have no rights," like Abdul Malik Rigi, the terrorist founder of Jund Allah, have proven to be funded by the CIA.

 

 

Six years ago while on a speaking tour of nearly 25 schools, colleges, and universities across India, I discovered that only a handful of students had ever seen a living, breathing Pakistani. None had heard an academic from across the border speak. A twelve-year old school student, who obviously did not know Hindi and Urdu were similar, wondered aloud how a real Pakistani could be speaking their language. For these puzzled students Pakistanis are alien people belonging to an adversary country, not next door neighbors.

The numerous misconceptions and misunderstandings I encountered must be still greater today. With pre-1947 family links slowly withering away, the two countries are traveling on separate economic and cultural trajectories. As travel barriers become ever higher, their respective populations are becoming progressively more unfamiliar and estranged from the other. -- Pervez Hoodbhoy for NewAgeIslam.com

Pakistan was not formed as an Islamic nation. It was instead envisioned as a state designed to provide economic stability and opportunity to Muslims who, post-Partition, would otherwise have found themselves a minority in a predominantly Hindu nation. A state founded for Muslims is by no means the same as an Islamic state. Adding further to this confusion is the central question, what form of Islam was Pakistan meant to follow? Important also to remember is that it was not till 1956 that Pakistan was officially renamed the ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’. Time and again, Pakistan’s religious identity has been reinforced through military dictators such as Ayub Khan and Ziaul Haq. Ayub Khan strived to tie Pakistan to a religious identity through provisions in the First Amendment that clearly stated: “No law shall be repugnant to the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah.”-- Arsla Jawaid

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NEW COMMENTS

  • let me put it like this. the Qur'an says it is a clear book. mr. naseer ahmed reads it and concludes....
    ( By hats off! )
  • talk about the arabic word "kafir" or "kufr". does mr. ali goma understand the meaning of this word ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • People can debate endlessly about names appearing in the Quran such as Zul Qarnain and try to match them with historical characters....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • what i say is based on logic and you may discuss with me based on logic. i....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Azimullah Khan Usufzai has given the slogan" Madre watan Bharat Ki jai" during 1857 and was received well by Swami Dyanand Saraswati as Bharat Mata ...
    ( By vivek chandra )
  • Correction: When speaking of common sense with someone, my definition of common sense would ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • What I say is based on the Quran and you may discuss with me based on the Quran only. I reject the ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • i knew this was going to be tough for your engineering education. the Qur'an says it is a clear text. but every two and half muslims ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Hats Off, Speaking of logic you are the pits! You say “as for the contradictions....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Did I say that we should go looking for answers in the hadiths? We should look for answers...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Cricketer Imran Khan's explanation of the following essence of Islamic faith to Kristaine Becker, a top presenter on MTV Europe...
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • url below links to an article by mr' ali goma. ali goma is not some random london street joker. he used to be the grand ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • a fool will find contradictions everywhere." another fool will not accept a contradiction even when it hits him in the face....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Naseersaab says, "The "common" in common sense relates to common values, common beliefs, common knowledge and....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The Gatestone Institute is a right-wing think tank that publishes articles, particularly those involving....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Dictatorships give high priority to altering history text books in order to promote self-serving view points.....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Knowledge of Muslim contributions to our fight for freedom and to India's progress....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Can Nasser Ahmed explain, when Mouhmmad paigmaber self declared himself prophet what wa the reason human's around him used to convince themselves....
    ( By Aayina )
  • your god just does not measure up to your own expectations. find someone else.'
    ( By hats off! )
  • You have said "you say kaffir does not mean non-muslims. all others (who also claim a perfect ....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • A fool will find contradictions everywhere. That does not prove that there is a contradiction.
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • No matter what, the patriot tests are designed to fail the Muslims as Arshad Alam rightly said.
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • If Mohammed was a Buddha world will be more peaceful.'
    ( By Nirav Patel )
  • my issue is to point out the contradictions in your articles, assertions (without proof) and bland statements. as for the contradictions in the Qur'an go to ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Hats Off, Don't try to put your silly words and silly arguments in my mouth. Quote my exact words ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Yunus Sb, I am aware of your views on the ahadith. The fact remains is that our voices (including Rashid Sb's) are mostly (not completely) lone ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • You have a woman in one of the articles that said she got a message, of one religion and they put her is a psych ...
    ( By Amy )
  • butte.edu/departments/cas/tipsheets/thinking/reasoning.html if this link cannot help you clear your misunderstanding ....
    ( By hats off! )
  • a "truth claim" and its "proof" are different from each other. first try to wrap your head around that. if you have forgotten it is you ...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Dear Naseer Sahab, Your last comment to hats off ends with this remark: "He is quite right in saying that my voice is mostly a lone ...
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • GM Sahab We are getting lost in semantics. Commonsense remains a very subjective term. The verse I quoted ....
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • Thank you Yunus Sb for your comment. Common sense is based on our values and will vary from people to people based on their values. ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Naseersaab, Common sense does not mean "What the people in large numbers commonly believe". That is consensus, not common sense....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Dear Naseer Sahab! Great! You have made a clear distinction between 'common sense' and 'use of reason.'....
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • Thank you Yunus Sb and Rashid Sb for your comments supporting the article.'
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • There is a difference between using our reason and using our common sense. Reason can never go wrong (unless misled by emotion) but common ....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Hats Off says:"the entire mass of sunni muslims assert that the sunnah of the prophet is an essential and inseparable part of the practice of ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • “one little lonely article claims the opposite”. No hats off, there are many other people and the Book too says the same. Muhammad’s ....
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • You can go around in circles Hats Off but it is truly pitiable that you lack even the most elementary understanding Whether it is a mathematical ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Dear Naseer Ahmed Sahab, People who have never read the Qur'an back to back in their lifetime will never know that ....
    ( By muhammd yunus )