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Books and Documents

Spiritual Meditations

Excluding the Rest
Samar Halarnkar

Excluding the Rest
Samar Halarnkar

In my experience of living and reporting in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore over the last decade, the opposite appears to be happening. Every religion is witnessing a flood of expression from the new aspiring class. Temples, mosques, churches and Gurudwaras overflow at times of worship. In itself, this is no bad thing. Religion is clearly a refuge from the stress of tumultuous modern Indian life, and faith in its own way can be a beautiful strength....

Being the trustees, our ideal spending patterns should be in conformity with Islamic values that reflect simplicity, modesty and forethought. This does not imply, however, that one should refrain from utilising nature-gifted resources for meeting legitimate needs or providing necessary comforts. Islam’s central emphasis is on walking the middle path, avoiding the epicurean as well as the miserly ways of life......

Raja Ji at the Feet of Khwaja Ji
Asar Chauhan Tr. New Age Islam

Raja Ji at the Feet of Khwaja Ji
Asar Chauhan

“Shahabuddin Ghori was buried on Sha’aban 2, 602 Hijra (13 May 1206) in the building in Ghazni which he had built for his daughter” Dr Abdul Quadeer Khan (on the basis of unknown reference and evidence) famously attributed the tomb of an unknown person in Jhelum to Muhammad Ghori and even arranged for its renovation and decoration. Secondly, Bharat named its missiles after their gods – Akash (sky), Agni (fire) and Prithvi (earth). Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan thought that Bharat had named one of its missiles, Prithvi, after Prithvi Raj Chauhan and so he named a missile made by Pakistan Ghori after Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghori. (If doctor sahib takes offence after reading it, I apologise)....

Is Religion Undesirable For Humanity?
Asghar Ali Engineer

Politicians should not be religious and religious leaders should not be politicians. Religious leaders should of course use religious values like justice, goodness, compassion, wisdom and truth as criteria for evaluating political leaders. Theological disputes should never become part of country’s politics which should be based only and only on improving life of ordinary people without touching their religious beliefs....

Religious Groups and Identity: A Feeling of Hopelessness
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Our sense of grouping and identity is the strongest in terms of religion. We group most strongly with our religious group members and identify most personally with our religious identity. Religious group may be defined as members of a religious community following and acting in almost the same fashion. For example, Muslims, following the teachings of Islam and acting according to the Quran and Hadith....

Islam Presents a Fine Balance between Individualism and Collectivism
Muhammad Burdbar Khan

In the Islamic concept of the universe, man has been appointed a vicegerent (Khalifa) on this earth by God and everything has been given to him in trust (Amanah). As part of society, he has to perform his duties while being conscious of that trust. As the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: “Each of you is a keeper or a shepherd and will be questioned about the well-being of his fold” (Bukhari and Muslim)....

Muslim Conscience Islam Needs the Kind of Guidance That Respects All Beings
Tariq Ramadan

What more can we say about the malaise of the Muslims, their crises and their shortcomings, their inability to meet the challenges of the day? Islam today is in disrepute; Muslims are under attack daily for the violence carried out in their name, for the discrimination against women and “non-Muslims” — that some claim to justify in their teachings and preachings....

The concept of secularism was vibrant in the Indic region with the realisation not only of one God but of the essential oneness of all existence: “Ekam sat bipra bahudha badanti.” Ultimate reality is singular as time or space is, but appears to be many due to apparent divisions. The Rig Veda proclaims that diverse ways of worship reach the same destination as different rivers reach the same ocean....

 

All celestial bodies are governed by discipline — an organised and coordinated system with an invisible linkage. We see the daily rising and setting of the sun, the moon appears and shines according to phases, the seasons change on a yearly basis and the days and nights occur according to their length fixed in every season....

Valentine Day’s Universal Message
Mike Ghouse

On the other side of the world, a few frustrated ones will go to the other extreme. A handful of Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshi Hindus and Muslims will go on bashing and harassing the people who want to spend their time in peace. They ransack shops that sell the cards, and have beaten up couples in restaurants. If I were in those nations, I would offer the misguided ones to come and spend time in Temples, Mosques or other places of worship and fall in love with God and sing songs praising the lord!....

Forgotten: Muhammad’s Islam and Gandhi’s India
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Muhammad and Gandhi, two of the most influential men in the history of the world, changed the face of the world we live in. Their early period of life may have been totally different but their moral philosophy has a common touch. One of his report card reads: "good at English, fair in Arithmetic and weak in Geography; conduct very good, bad handwriting”.  “I went to the West and saw Islam, but no Muslims; I got back to the East and saw Muslims, but no Islam.”I say: “I see Muslims but no Muhammad; I see India but no Gandhi”....

The Mahakumbh, with its limitless cornucopia of Hindu memories and motives, is the closest that Hinduism comes to calling itself 'organised' in the Semitic sense of the term. It is easily one of Hinduism's great traditions, one which with its almost limitless diversity is the antithesis of a globalised, monochromatic world of materialism....

 

Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and Contemporary Muslims
Khaled AlMaeena

Even non-Muslim historians admit that Muslims were the originators of modern chemistry, meteorology, mathematics, sociology and geography. Muslim surgeons were also the first to dissect the human body. The first known telescope was built for a Muslim ruler. We should remember that we are the followers of a Prophet (pbuh) who said that one should seek knowledge even if it means travelling as far as China.....

Stress-Free Formula for A Happy Life
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The first principle- “It is his problem, not mine” can be described as the art of problem management. In life there are always problems, and the best formula is to try to manage them rather than try to eliminate them. You have to learn the art of problem management, and then you can have a life where there is no stress or tension....

We Have the Ability to Bounce Back
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

We Have the Ability to Bounce Back
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Resilience is a law of nature. It means the ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune. It can be found everywhere -- in the physical world, the plant and animal worlds and the human world. Resilience in Physics means the ability to return to the original form after being bent, compressed or stretched….

Are We True To the Holy Prophet’s Teachings?
Khaled Almaeena

Not a day passes without some depressing news from one Muslim country or another. Either it is a terrorist attack in Afghanistan or the Syrian Air Force bombing its own people. Iraq continues to be hit with violence of the most gruesome kind. Mali now joins the list of Muslim countries facing internal turmoil and external intervention. People continue to be killed in Pakistan…

 

Religious Identity and Inter-Religious Polemics
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

The major challenge to the peaceful coexistence of people believing in different religions is the all-too-common tendency among many believers to have negative or even derogatory views about religious beliefs and practices other than their own. This tendency is far from being exceptional, although, for the sake of political politeness, we may hesitate to admit this. ...

Maybe my need for belief in religion stemmed from a refusal to think that life is just about taking birth, growing up, eating, playing, marrying, growing old and dying, and my insistence that there must certainly be a greater purpose lurking behind this seemingly meaningless drama. Whatever the reason may be, I’ve been dabbling in different religions almost all my life.

 
Going Beyond the God of My Imagination
Joyous Agnos, New Age Islam

In all my years, I’ve never once encountered a person who has seen, heard or experienced God (in the sense ‘He’ is generally understood) personally, although, of course, I’ve met and closely interacted with thousands of ardent believers in diverse religions. They all claim to know about God, but they can’t honestly say that they know God—because they haven’t experienced God themselves, which is the only way to know God. And so, all that they can tell you about God is simply the information or claims that they’ve heard from others or have read in their scriptures.

 
Reflections on the Religious Search
Joyous Agnos, New Age Islam

As far as I am concerned, religion means—or, rather, ought to mean—a search for the Ultimate Truth--which, we may well realise as we travel on this journey, is simply beyond the grasp of human comprehension. This search is also a quest to know the reality of one’s self. A truly religious person, therefore, is a ‘seeker’ of the Truth.

If an ideological system, belief or practice definitely does promote such wholesomeness, you may regard it as true—not necessarily always true in terms of ‘hard facts’ as we conventionally understand them (such as the proven ‘facts’ of mathematics), but, rather, true in terms of the wholesome, and, therefore, truthful, consequences that it promotes. And hence, you might want to take it is an aspect or dimension or reflection of the Absolute Truth or God.

 
Religion, and Human Understandings Of It
Joyous Agnos, New Age Islam

What we believe to be ‘the true’ interpretation or version of our religion, then, is often simply the one we like best because it reinforces our particular likes and dislikes, supports our particular ways of viewing the world and legitimizes projects and plans that we have for ourselves. Whether we recognize or agree to admit it or not, our choice of one interpretation among many of our religion is often heavily influenced by our mundane and entirely extra-spiritual concerns.

God Has Guided Me to Truth
Dr. Kari Ann Owen

I grew up in a slave market, comprised not only of the promiscuous sicknesses of my family, but the constant negative judging of my appearance by peers.... I was taught from a very early age by American society that my human worth consisted solely of my attractiveness. I support and deeply admire Islam’s respect for same sex education; for the rights of women as well as men in society; for modest dress; and above all for sobriety and marriage...

 

The fundamental principles of religion and ethics are quite the same in both Holy Books

Islam, as enunciated in the holy Quran, is all for international understanding and unity of mankind for the great purpose of realization of human destiny. It does not recognize any barriers of racialism and all such aggressive ‘isms’ which are affronts to human dignity and worth, as the holy Quran regards men as the best creation.

The message of Islam is that they should all go back to the true faith which may be designated Deen (religion), or Islam (surrender and submission to the will of God). The root Slm in Arabic means "to be in peace, to be an integral whole." From this root comes Islam, meaning to surrender to God’s law and thus to be an integral whole. It asserts that religion does not teach that man should hate man. The object of religion is to increase love and unity among human beings by the recognition that "we are all the children of the one and only God." This is Humanism.

The message of Islam, as depicted in the holy Quran is the "unity of mankind under the fatherhood of God." It is opposed to all forms of grouping –– racial, national, sectarian, or other. This then is the True Path, and for this we ask God’s grace. The right path is essentially one of sympathy and love for those human beings who are most in need of them – the orphan, the slaves, the deprived, those who are poor or those who are lonely.

Having minutely gone through the Gita and the Quran, one may easily realize that both these sacred volumes are so similar in their intrinsic nature that they stand as a neck-vein to each other. Truly speaking, a true believer of 7th and 8th verses of the 4th chapter (Jnanayoga) of the Gita as well as the 48th verse of the Quranic Surah "Al-Maidah" will find no point of dissimilarity between these holy volumes. Both of these scriptures intend to establish religion on a firm footing for the protection of the virtuous, for the destruction of the evil-doers and for restoring order and peace in the society. The fundamental principles of religion and ethics are quite the same, in all respects in both.

The similarity between the Gita and Quran extends on a larger scale, as most of the verses of the Quran were preached under similar circumstances in which the Gita was preached. -- Dr. Debabrata Das

Ideological supremacism is often associated with religion, but this is not always the case. Witness, for instance, the terror and horrific violence wrought in the name of Nationalism, Fascism, Communism, Capitalism and Democracy, as votaries of these ideologies have sought to deal with those who dared to differ from them. The violence that belief in the supremacism of these non-religious ideologies has generated has been no less deadly than that blessed in God’s name.

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