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Islam and Pluralism

When we have had a concerted political campaign, however opportunistic, which fails to dissociate the atrocities of extreme Islam from the behaviour and ideologies of 'moderate' Muslims living in Australia, we are bound to create pockets of society which feel it is not only their right, but their duty, to stamp out that threat....

 
An Indian’s Love for Lahore
Tanuj Garg
An Indian’s Love for Lahore
Tanuj Garg

Possibly the first Bollywood film that refers to Pakistan in its title was “Welcome to Karachi”. Two Indian bumpkins make their way into Karachi by boat, and the usual madness follows. Some of its content could bother the touchy souls, but if it’s seen in the right spirit, the trailer makes for a great, innocuous laugh....

 
Transcending The Us Versus Them Paradigm
Maryam Sakeenah
Transcending The Us Versus Them Paradigm
Maryam Sakeenah

The pulpit and the Minbar have vital roles in defeating the false us versus them narrative. Both religions contain voluminous and powerful content on tolerance and compassion that needs to resonate to drown this madness in the name of faith. Faith must be the healing, the mending and the force inspiring peacemaking….

 

Disbelief swept social media when the scion of an influential Pakistani Hindu family, Karni Singh, married an Indian woman with much Rajput pomp in Jaipur last week. It was understandable as any mention of Pakistani Hindus conjures up images of a necessarily persecuted minority. Expressions like influential Pakistani Hindu groom as such naturally sound oxymoronic. How has been it possible for Karni’s family to maintain its status and influence? This was the question that baffled many. The likes of Karni do not fit into how Pakistani Hindus are perceived in India. It has a lot to do with the idea of India seen as an ideal one in contrast with flawed Pakistan and prompts a broad-brushed portrayal of Pakistani Hindus as essentially hounded. The depiction cloaks complicated issues of class and caste besides admirable resilience of many Hindus, who have excelled in varied fields despite odds....

Plurality Is At the Heart of Life
Victor Edwin SJ for New Age Islam
Plurality Is At the Heart of Life
By Victor Edwin SJ for New Age Islam

Three, as Christian students of theology we recognise that this diversity/plurality is part of the very design of God and mystery of God. Diversity within nature invites us to recognise 'interdependence' of that exits. The nature works interdependently. Water, soil, Carbon-di-oxide, and sunlight make a joint venture with plants to bring about fruits. Symbolically nature brings forth fruits through a collaborative course of action. In the human world too, when many people from varied backgrounds put their hearts and minds together, they make a contribution to a new and better world.  Diversity teaches us that we are interdependent and we are called to work together to build a better world. Working together we seek unity in diversity not in uniformity....

 
Who is a Kafir in the Quran? (Part 4) Defining Kufr
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
Who is a Kafir in the Quran? (Part 4) Defining Kufr
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

Hadd punishments for kufr relating to God or the spiritual dimension are not prescribed in the Quran as that would violate the right of conscience that the Quran clearly grants to man. Some forms of Kufr may appear to stride both the dimensions - for example, an apostate who turns hostile and carries on activities harmful to a section of the society or the state. Such a person can be punished for the harm that he has caused or can potentially cause but not for apostasy. Apostasy is merely incidental and irrelevant to the case as apostasy is not kufr in the temporal dimension....

The Muslims display a glaring lack of insight of their holy Book, when they judge others who are not followers of the Quran, by the yardstick in the Quran applicable only to the Muslims. This is in direct contradiction to the message of the Quran. In this article, we explore how the Quran shows without any ambiguity, that Kufr is a relative concept, and conduct that would render a Muslim kafir, may not render even an ahl-e-kitab (Jew or Christian) kafir,  let alone a polytheist….

It’s also true that pluralism is a distinctly American value and that respect for divergent faith practices is fundamental to who we are. But the constant, blanket defense of Islam — whether for political expediency or political correctness — also requires the United States to ignore some harsh realities of the Muslim world that in other circumstances we would openly condemn as offensive, at the very least, or completely horrific....

 
Who Is A Kafir In The Quran? (Part 2): Muslim– Non-Muslim Relationship
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
Who Is A Kafir In The Quran? (Part 2): Muslim– Non-Muslim Relationship
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

Very clearly, even under the most trying conditions of war spread over 9 years meant to annihilate Islam, the Quran makes a clear distinction between the `kafir’ among the non-Muslims and others. There is not a single verse in the entire Quran that directs the Muslims to treat people of other faiths with anything other than kindness and justice. The war is only against the kafir among them for the exclusive kufr of:

a)      Those who fight the Muslims for their faith and drive them out of their homes.

b)      Those who break their treaties and fight or aid other enemies of the Muslims

There is no verse in the Quran that asks the Muslims to fight with the Kafir for any other form of kufr such as: Blasphemy, ridicule, rejecting faith etc

To summarize, the Quran does not identify kafir by his/her belief system or faith but by certain specific characteristics that make the person an active enemy of Religion, God and the people of faith. A kafir is one who actively hinders people from practicing their faith, persecutes people of faith, opposes humanitarian practices such as giving of charity, shunning usury etc. A kafir could be a Muslim, Jew, Christian, polytheist, atheist and the term is faith neutral.

An important corollary of my comment/article below, is that:

The Kafaru among the Christians, Jews and Pagans that the Quran refers to, are necessarily the Kafaru of the Prophet's times.

Since the Quran does not identify the kafaru by their faith or belief systems, none of these verses apply to any of the people today.

The proof that I have provided for this conclusion, is as strong as any proof in the sciences.

...  The fact is that what has been stated in this chapter regarding Wala and Bara applies for times where war prevails, when the followers of Islam and others are practically at war with each other. These verses do not apply to contexts where war has ended and peace has been established between the two.....

Islam coexisted with other faiths for more than a thousand years. The weight of Islamic history is skewed toward moderation and includes tolerance for other faiths. But in the past 50 years, militants and some regimes that favour a literalist approach to revealed texts have imposed more austere interpretations of Islamic law. These groups are obsessed with punitive aspects of the Quran, as opposed to the sections that emphasise forgiveness…

The tenants of Islam include a basic set of rules designed to protect individual rights and freedoms, however the rights of individuals are not permitted to infringe upon the rights of communities. Islam is a doctrine concerned with respect, tolerance, justice, and equality and the Islamic concepts of freedom and human rights are imbedded in the faith in the One God….

 

It was of course the military and political victory of Islam which opened the way for mass conversion even if, as we have seen, the pace was initially slow. Conversion was partly achieved by missionary activity no doubt, but in fact we hear very little about that except in unusual areas like Ushrusana. There were lots of great preachers but they mostly seem to have preached to the converted. Instead Islam seems to have spread by attracting people rather than by reaching out to them. In any age there will always be people who change their religion, convert from one to the other, purely on a wave of pious enthusiasm and religious inspiration. It is not perhaps too cynical to suggest that there are many others who have more mixed motives. Islam was the elite religion.....

Can Pluralism Be Taught?
Caroline Suransky

The war in the Middle East may be far distant geographically, but it is close by in terms of its impact and the images it creates. When the Dutch armed forces bomb ISIS targets, they may kill some of their own citizens in the process who identify more with the Caliphate than with their Dutch passport. The ‘global’ and the ‘local’ have never been more intertwined. In this increasingly interconnected world, societies are becoming more complex and diverse—that is, more plural…..

Quran Is Not for Muslims
Mike Ghouse
Quran Is Not for Muslims
Mike Ghouse

First of all, God is not the God of Muslims and no where he claims that in Quran. He is creator of the universe(s), which is within and beyond our imagination. Quran is a book of guidance to preserve the cohesiveness within and what surrounds us; people and the environment. Darwin is right about survival of the fittest. Nothing in the universe will survive if it goes off balance and is not intact. Thank God everything is created in balance and harmony (55: 7-13) with billions of other elements interconnected and interdependent on each other to function cohesively…..

Abdullah ibn Salam had a very high position among the Muslims. It is reported in a Hadith, that one day while the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sitting with his companions, he said, “Do you want to see a man walking on Earth and in Paradise?” Each one of the companions looked in silence toward the Prophet. The Prophet pointed toward Abdullah ibn Salam. It is also reported that the Qur’an mentions about him….

 

India is a spiritually and culturally rich multi-religious and multi lingual society. This richness and diversity was a result of different religions and cultures mixing together to produce a wonderful harmonious blend of spiritual values. At the core of the values has been the mystic tradition of India bridged by Islamic Sufism and Bhakti mysticism spanning over more than 5oo years. India was the land and centre for spiritual pursuits for a number of great mystics and Sufis that existed right from the 8th century till sixteenth century. Sufis and Bhaktivadi saints together formed a wonderful chain of mysticism throughout India…..

The insight that the Quran offers us is that there is unity in the goal of all moral people which is to strive as in a race to excel in all virtues but there is great diversity in their paths, ways of life, outlook, emphasis, methods, abilities and talents. This diversity is a divine blessing and those societies which appreciate and celebrate diversity will alone prosper. In the matters that they differ, God is the sole judge.....

Islam and Hinduism: Spiritual Symbiosis - Part 2: Who is a Kafir in Islam; Are Hindus Kafir or Ahl-e-Kitab?
Sultan Shahin, Founder-Editor, New Age Islam
Islam and Hinduism: Spiritual Symbiosis - Part 2: Who is a Kafir in Islam; Are Hindus Kafir or Ahl-e-Kitab?
Sultan Shahin, Founder-Editor, New Age Islam

Like any other living Faith, controversies abound in Islam. One of the most controversial issues is the relationship of a Muslim with people belonging to other religions. Since in India Muslims have always lived next to a very large non-Muslim community, this issue has created even deeper controversies. While there are Muslims who would insist on treating Hindus as Kafir, there are others who would insist that they should actually be treated as Ahl-e-Kitab, people bearing revealed books, a people who have a special place in Islamic theology and practice.

Disregarding the advice of some ulema of his time, the first Arab to conquer parts of India, Sind and Multan, had made a good beginning, giving the Hindus the same status as Ahl-e-Kitab, people with whom Muslims are supposed to have good social relations including marital relations. Since then, the Hindu-Muslim interaction has taken place constantly in a variety of ways. This is not the place to go into history, but we are all aware of the differences of approach between say an Akbar or Dara Shikoh and an Aurangzeb

This came as a huge respite to the Hindus in the area who were worried how they would go about with their daily chores without water. Carrying buckets in hand, the sari-clad women entered the Masjid’s compound for the first time with prayers of gratitude on their lips. By the time the Namaz began at 5.30 pm, more than 2,000 women had carried home several thousand gallons of water in their buckets.....

How can liberalism be a threat to Merdeka? Merdeka does not belong only to Muslims. It belongs to all Malaysians. Why don't these guys get it? Malaysia belongs to all Malaysians. Malaysians are a diverse lot. There are Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Dayak, Iban, Murut, Melanau, Orang Asli, Eurasians, etc, and there are Muslims, Christians, Buddhists….

 
Religious Harmony, Compassion and Islam
Dalai Lama
Religious Harmony, Compassion and Islam
His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

A great Indian Buddhist master, Shantideva, wrote that when we are about to face a problem, if we analyze and see a way to avoid it or to overcome it, there is no need to worry. And if we can’t overcome it, then there is no help from worrying. Accept reality. So, if you are interested in what I say, then experiment by yourself. If you have no interest, then leave it. I leave tomorrow, but your problems will stay with you......

 
Islam and Hinduism: Spiritual Symbiosis - Part 1
Sultan Shahin, Founder-Editor, New Age Islam
Islam and Hinduism: Spiritual Symbiosis - Part 1
Sultan Shahin, Founder-Editor, New Age Islam

Islam and Hinduism have lived in India together for almost 14 centuries. The first 13 as excellent neighbours. “Love thy neighbour, for he is yourself”, said the Vedas. The Quran agreed: “do good - to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer” (An-Nisa 4.36). But the 20th century changed all that. As a result of the British colonial Divide-and-Rule policy, the country witnessed growing disaffection, culminating in partition at the time of Independence from colonial rule and periodic outbursts of unimaginable savagery on the part of both the communities.

Islam, Pluralism and Good-Neighbourliness: Do Muslims Follow Islamic Teachings?
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam
Islam, Pluralism and Good-Neighbourliness: Do Muslims Follow Islamic Teachings?
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

Ramazan is more opportune time for Muslims to realise and demonstrate good-neighbourliness, which is an integral part of Ramazan and essential message of Islam. The holy Quran clearly says: “And treat the parents with moral excellence and (do good to) relatives, orphans, the needy, the close as well as unacquainted neighbours.” (Surah an-Nisa: 4:36).....

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