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Islam and Pluralism

...  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).....

And pluralism cannot be sold to the majority in universal and colour-blind lingos like equality, fairness, human rights or humanism. Why? Multiculturalism, multiparty democracy and secularism are simply seen as illegitimate colonial legacies that only disadvantage the majority. Pluralism can only be sold to Malay-Muslims instrumentally: pluralism will benefit Malay-Muslims….

 

In his address, New Age Islam Foundation's representative Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi shed light on Swami Vivekananda’s holistic understanding of Islam. He started his speech with a famous quotation from Swami Vivekananda: “For our own motherland a junction of the two great systems, Hinduism and Islam – Vedanta brain and Islam body – is the only hope… I see in my mind’s eye the future perfect India rising out of this chaos and strife, glorious and invincible, with Vedanta brain and Islam body.” Dehlvi stated that “Swami Vivekananda was a great admirer of the core universal values of Islam that he believed to be the sole reason for its survival on earth.”.......

The Qadri Sufi Bulleh Shah of Punjab (1680-1757) held that no religion was better than any other to attain God. He refused to be imprisoned by the mythological boundaries of a sectarian religion and he took free flights in the open sky of thought. He was influenced by the Sant or Bhakti tradition. He freely appreciated and adopted some ‘Hindu’ ideas, seeing God in Krishna, who grazed cows in Brindaban, and in Rama, who invaded Lanka. He had studied and had knowledge of the Upanishads. He accepted the Vaishnava idea of the Grace of God—which is that one cannot achieve anything through one’s own efforts but only by the Grace of God.....

 
Have We Muslims Forgotten the Pious Promise Made by Prophet Muhammad to Christians?
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam
Have We Muslims Forgotten the Pious Promise Made by Prophet Muhammad to Christians?
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

Those who see these dangerous radicals merely as a law and order problem should explain the rationale behind the mindless act of violence and wanton killing by the terror goons who went door to door asking residents if they were Muslim or spoke Somali - and shot them dead if their answer was 'no'. Nothing could be more appalling and ideologically lethal than the brutal incident of human killing inspired by an obnoxious religious zeal. One could gauge the gravity of this ideological fanaticism by what a mourning Christian woman, Anne Gathigi, a victim of the incident was quoted as saying: “They came to our house at around 8pm and asked us in Swahili whether we were Muslims. My husband told them we were Christians and they shot him in the head and chest.”....

Pakistani Pluralism and the Question of Shariat
Yasser Latif Hamdani
Pakistani Pluralism and the Question of Shariat
Yasser Latif Hamdani

In Pakistan, the state’s constant struggle to define the role of religion in governance and policy has also been reflective of the struggle of the Muslim community in South Asia to define itself politically. The question before us in Pakistan, which is so self-consciously aware of its Islamic identity as a state, is whether those early traditions of classical Islam can be reconciled with the institutions of English common law that we inherited from the British. A failure of imagination has, for the most part, stagnated the growth of reconciliation between these heritages in a country that under its present constitution is a self-declared Islamic republic and where no law that contravenes the dictates of the Quran and the Sunnah, the bedrock of Islamic legal tradition, can exist. To the modern legal mind therefore, Pakistan’s English legal system and Islamic heritage have worked at cross-purposes. By narrowly construing Islamic principles and straitjacketing liberty and freedom, the Ulema have slaughtered Islamic principles and reduced them to medieval laws that seem tragically out of place in the modern world. Unfortunately no real attempt has been made to formulate Islamic jurisprudence as a code of public conduct where jurists and not clerics cull universal principles from the Quran and the Sunnah, classify them, and expound them as a part of civil law or a criminal code. The efforts of the imams in the Eighth and Ninth Centuries have over time ossified and been cast in stone as the final word – Author …..

Ideally, the “showcase” of being a good Muslim should be one that takes place throughout the 12 months of the year, and not just punctuated during Ramadan, since Muslims should be cohesively celebrative in society, without having to compromise their beliefs and principles, and to constantly be a driving force of good values. But even if we feel we have done our best, we can always do better. So, with a few weeks left to Ramadan….

 

In many places men, women and even children are killing and being killed in conflicts that are both validated and emotionally intensified by religion. And this is possible because each faith has traditionally made its own absolute claim to be the one and only true faith. Absolutes can justify anything. Today, to insist on the unique superiority of your own faith is to be part of the problem. For how can there be stable peace between rival absolutes? In the words of the Catholic theologian Hans Kung, ‘There will be no peace among the peoples of this world without peace among the world religions’. And I would add that there will be no real peace among the world religions so long as each thinks of itself as uniquely superior to all the others. Dialogue between the faiths must continue on an ever increasing scale......

 
How I Came To Appreciate the Misunderstood Islam
Jaison Abraham, New Age Islam
How I Came To Appreciate the Misunderstood Islam
Jaison Abraham, New Age Islam

The negative understanding I have towards Islam was misinterpretation and misrepresentation of Islamic teachings.  Islam, its very word comes from the root word “Salam” which means peace. The very word “Jihad” is used, misused and abused term by many. In other words “jihad” is an inner struggle. As The Holy Quran gives more importance to love, kindness and Compassion.  As Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in his life-time sets out many examples on peace building and tolerance and he was friendly with the people of the book (Jews and Christians) but is it really happening today? No! Very rarely.....

In many places men, women and even children are killing and being killed in conflicts that are both validated and emotionally intensified by religion. And this is possible because each faith has traditionally made its own absolute claim to be the one and only true faith. Absolutes can justify anything. Today, to insist on the unique superiority of your own faith is to be part of the problem. For how can there be stable peace between rival absolutes? In the words of the Catholic theologian Hans Kung, ‘There will be no peace among the peoples of this world without peace among the world religions’. And I would add that there will be no real peace among the world religions so long as each thinks of itself as uniquely superior to all the others. Dialogue between the faiths must continue on an ever increasing scale. But the only stable and enduring basis for peace will come about when dialogue leads to a mutual acceptance of the world religions as different but equally valid relationships to the ultimate reality……

 
Survival of the Plural
Khaled Ahmed
Survival of the Plural
Khaled Ahmed

Religion is opposed to culture because of religion’s tendency to keep purifying itself and excluding elements and communities that cross the boundaries of identity. Islamisation in Pakistan is actually a process of re-tribalisation; hence, the Punjabi Taliban. Since the Taliban are Pakhtun, an imitative assumption of “single identity” is implied.....

 
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