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Books and Documents

Islam and Pluralism

Some Muslim leaders have expressed "grave concerns" over the Study Qur'an, a recent translation and commentary of the Qur'an because of its promotion of salvific pluralism and universalism. Such Muslim leaders promote exclusivism and supremacism and also bully fellow Muslims, who uphold inclusive values, through social ostracism. Preaching of such strong views has led to the immense persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and the marginalization of LGBT Muslims. Indeed, taking this exclusivism to its logical conclusion, groups like ISIS and the Taliban execute fellow Muslims with the approval of their own conscience….

In Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, this Ramayana ballet, performed in the Javanese style—a finessed form, associated with slow and deliberate movements—has been running continuously since 1961. In 2012, it was anointed by the Guinness Book as the most continuously staged performance in the world.  In Indonesia, the Ramayana ballet has been running continuously since 1961.

 

In Africa, many parts of which contain Muslim and Christian populations, Muslims often join in Christmas festivities; in Senegal, which is nearly 95% Muslim, as well as in Muslim-majority Gambia, Muslims and Christians celebrate each other's holidays. The mosque in Dakar sports Christmas lights during the season. In Sri Lanka, the major Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian holidays are public holidays.

 
Do Muslims Celebrate Christmas?
Sajdah Nubee
Do Muslims Celebrate Christmas?
Sajdah Nubee

Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. The Qur'an venerates both Jesus and Virgin Mary by sharing their story of Jesus' miraculous birth, his special gift of speaking from the cradle, and his ability to perform miracles with the help of God. Muslims believe that his mother Mary is one of the greatest women to ever live, and a chapter of the Qur'an is devoted to her. ...

 

A church which was built in the middle of Berlin in the 13th century and destroyed in World War II, is likely to be rebuilt as the world’s first all-in-one church-mosque-synagogue, called the House of One.

Though the property belongs to the church, authorities hope to build a sacred spaces for Jews, Muslims, and Christians, rather than just a chapel.

So let us too try to understand and learn from the difference between these two voices. One, the self-declared Islamic state, attacked innocent people at a European soccer match in Paris on Friday. Another, His Highness the Aga Khan, was a soccer player himself for Harvard's prestigious, championship-winning soccer team.

 
Hazro: A Small Pakistani Town of Mandirs and Gurdwaras
Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro
Hazro: A Small Pakistani Town of Mandirs and Gurdwaras
Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro

…It was during one of my expeditions that I traveled to a small town named Hazro - a tehsil of the Attock district, Punjab, and was instantly smitten.

Formerly a fortified town with four gates, Hazro is home to many temples, gurdwaras and havelis believed to have been built during the Sikh and British era.

 

From all the above illustrations it is clear that the divine judgment for all humanity, according to the Qur’an will be deed specific and not religion specific. That means no religion will be accorded any preference before God as He is the fountain-head of all religions which He evolved over time, each specific to an era and culminated his scheme of guiding humanity in the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad which merely acknowledges all past scriptures, recaptures what was lost of them over time and preserves the eternal message of God, Thus, the Muslims may argue that this amounts to Islam commanding a higher position over other scriptures. But the Qur’an corrects such misconception and asks humanity to believe in all the prophets and previously revealed scriptures, and to make no distinction between any of the Prophets (4:152), 3.....

Islam’s Legacy of Pluralism
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam
Islam’s Legacy of Pluralism
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

The Islamic vision of pluralism is build around the philosophy of tolerance of diversity in thought and belief. One may, of course, devalue the other person’s beliefs without devaluing the person who holds those beliefs. The tolerant person wills to treat the person with significantly differing beliefs and practices as intrinsically valuable in spite of that person’s rejection of her fundamental human concerns. Tolerance is the cultivated disposition to subdue our natural inclination to distance, reject or persecute others whose beliefs and practices differ from our own. The tolerant person is, rather, disposed to recognise the other as an object of inestimable worth. The tolerant person says, in effect, “Our fundamental disagreement does not diminish my estimation of your worth as a human being and, therefore, though I disagree with your beliefs or practices, still I will endure them.”....

As only the Islamophobes, who hate Islam or those Muslims, who want to enforce Shariah Law, of their imagination, by hook or crook, make headlines, the compassionate teachings of the Holy Quran are lost to the ordinary, non-Muslim observer.

The Holy Quran talks about One God and one human family.......

Allah asserts in the Quran that it was within His power that all mankind have a common faith and in His wisdom he bestowed the gift of knowledge and free will on human beings and prescribed that there can be no compulsion in matters of religion. Thus, a human being is absolutely free to choose his faith or even to change it, if I may add. But all human beings are accountable for their beliefs and deeds on the Day of Judgement. The root of the word ‘Kafir’ is ‘k’fr’ which has a wide range of meanings but, in essence, it means ‘to deny’ or ‘to conceal’....

Muslim scholars, political leaders and civic society must emphasize the pluralistic message of the Quran and urgently address the pervasive exclusivist attitude among many Muslims. Neglecting the pluralistic message of the Quran has allowed fringe groups to use anachronistic stereotypes about fellow Muslims, people of other faiths and entire nation-states, to unleash a form of violence rooted in extreme interpretations of Islamic eschatology….

If modern Turkey which has a reputation for secular tolerance and a tradition of moderate Islam converts this enormously significant monument into a mosque, what signal is this sending out to jihadists and other radicals....

Free Speech and Civility in America and in Islam
Sarah Sayeed, Ph.D.
Free Speech and Civility in America and in Islam
Sarah Sayeed, Ph.D.

Some believe that Islam is diametrically opposed to free speech, based on how a small group of Muslims react angrily and violently to cartoons of Prophet Muhammad. But we would perhaps draw different conclusions if we considered free speech hand in hand with our own commitment to civility. In many Muslim societies and families, Muslims are taught that our love for Prophet Muhammad should be greater than our love for family and ourselves, and that loving the Prophet is the way we learn how to be a good Muslim....

 

It is a measure of how far things have unraveled that many Iraqi Sunnis prefer the lunatic Islamic State, or ISIS, than to fight and die for a pro-Iranian Shiite-led government in Baghdad. I have never seen it this bad. The Middle East analyst Simon Henderson captured the disintegration well in an essay in The Wall Street Journal in March, writing, “The violent chaos in Yemen isn’t orderly enough to merit being called a civil war....

 
Who Are The Disbelievers?
Hamza Yusuf, Ed. by Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

According to the Quran, polytheism is the greatest sin against God. Surely God will not forgive “shirk”, but He will forgive anything less than it for whom He pleases (4:116). The majority of orthodox scholars do not apply this verse to polytheists who have never heard a true message about God….

When man believes in a universally accepted fact, this knowledge is called Ilm al Yaqin. For example, Man believes that the tree has been created by God. This is because of his unsubstantiated belief in the power and existence of God. But when he cuts its stem and puts it under the microscope, he enters another world of knowledge through his perception and observation. Here the knowledge is not based on mere blind faith but on the basis of his own observation. This stage of knowledge is called Aynal Yaqin.He does not stop at this stage because the observation arouses his curiosity to go into the depth of the facts and observation of the inner makings of the stem of the tree.  The intricate, sophisticated and highly disciplined system within the stem leads the seeker of knowledge to the ultimate Truth behind the system and he is overwhelmed by the power, wisdom, artistry and mastery of the Supreme Being. This stage of knowledge is called Haqqul Yaqin, the knowledge of Certainty….

The Sufi and Bhakti tradition in Pakistan and India are two such trends from within Islam and Hinduism respectively, that are focused more on the unity of humanity as a whole, overcoming sectarian divides. Sufism has been prominent in South Asia for the last 10 centuries. The word Sufi means a coarse wool fabric, the type worn by Sufi mystics....

The natural course of policies made in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always had a negative tilt towards the Shia Muslims of the world. Having the privilege of hosting Islam’s most sacred place of worship, they have monopolised the Islamic faith and exploited the concept of pilgrimage as much as possible. After years of exporting its ideology to Pakistan, and many other countries across the Middle-East, and creating fissures in society....

 
What’s wrong with Minority Appeasement?
Sidharth Bhatia
What’s wrong with Minority Appeasement?
Sidharth Bhatia

Minorities do need to feel that their rights are protected and they will not get overwhelmed by the majority. The Hindu, Sikh and Muslim groups in the UK have anxieties not totally dissimilar to the ones of Muslims and Christians in India.....

Why Don’t Saudis Mix With Others?
Ibrahim Al-Ammar
Why Don’t Saudis Mix With Others?
Ibrahim Al-Ammar

In a line at a restaurant, they are much more likely than Saudis to chat to strangers and joke around with people they don’t know. Saudis are more likely to stand quietly. You can see the same split in western cultures as well: Among the Americans, they were more likely to chat with strangers in a public place....

 
No justice for the Tahiras' of Sindh
Manesh Kumar
No justice for the Tahiras' of Sindh
Manesh Kumar

The laws dictate severe punishments for honour-killings and other acts of violence against women. The Supreme Court had declared Jirgas as unconstitutional. The rule book suggests strict punishments for the Vani custom. But these curses are nowhere close to seeing an end; Jirgas are hold in every nook and corner of Sindh, as are girls all over subjected to Vani. The authorities have spectacularly failed at implementing a single law in the province....

 
Response to ‘Kafir and Mushrik in the Light of the Quran’
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
Response to ‘Kafir and Mushrik in the Light of the Quran’
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

What I have simply said is that in verses that refer to the Kafaru among the Jews, Christians and Polytheists, it is referring to a specific group of people whose Kufr is also described in the verse. These are the people of the Prophet’s times displaying a specific behaviour in relation to the Prophet’s mission. The Prophet’s mission has ended. These verses are therefore giving out historical information about those people and their behaviour. The Kufr here is neither usury nor drinking. It is their attitude and behaviour towards the Prophet and the Muslims. Those verses are clearly stated.....

Related Articles:

Kafir and Mushrik in the Light of the QuranThe Story of the Prophetic Mission of Muhammad (pbuh) in the Qu’ran (Concluding Part) SummaryWho Is A Kafir In The Quran? (Part 1): 'Kafir,' 'Mushrik' And 'Idolater' Are Not Synonyms

Even if the word ‘kafir’ was used during the time of the Prophet, the socio-political-economic context today is not the same as it was then. Words don’t only have meanings. They also carry connotations. In today’s world, calling someone kafir is akin to saying that person does not deserve a place in this world. Thus calling others ‘kafir’ can sow the seeds of dislike for those others, or even hatred of them....

This article has been written as a response to Mr Naseer Ahmad’s four part article titled ‘Who is a Kafir in the Quran? (Part 4) Defining Kufr. In this article Mr Naseer Ahmad made some statements or inferences that have created confusion about the definition of the word Kafir and also about the term Mushrik. This article aims to clarify the notion about the definition of Kafir and Kufr in the light of the verses of the Quran.....

Related Articles:

Who Is A Kafir In The Quran? (Part 1): 'Kafir,' 'Mushrik' and 'Idolater' are not synonyms

Who Is A Kafir In The Quran? (Part 2): Muslim– Non-Muslim Relationship

Who Is A Kafir In The Quran? (Part 3): Why Kufr Is A Relative Concept While Shirk, Idol Worship Etc. Have Fixed Meanings

Who is a Kafir in the Quran? (Part 4) Defining Kufr

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