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Books and Documents

Spiritual Meditations

Miracles in the Quran
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Miracles in the Quran
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

The Glorious Quran is the last and final revelation which was revealed to the last and final Messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). For any book to claim that it is a revelation from God, it should stand the test of Time. Previously, it was the age of miracles; the Quran is a miracle of miracles. After that, came the age of literature and poetry. Muslims and non-Muslims alike say that the Quran is the best piece of Arabic literature present on the face of the earth….

Gamble during Diwali is Cosmic Lila, Divine Play, the Grand Illusion and Maya
Narayani Ganesh

Parvati not only plays dice with the universe, she is engaged in an eternal game of winning and losing with Shiva, her partner. It’s a game spanning the cosmic cycle of creation and destruction, of fragmentation and reunification. It is Cosmic Lila, Divine Play, the Grand Illusion, Maya. Gambling during Diwali is considered auspicious, not the least because it emulates - however weakly - the cosmic interplay of Parvati and Shiva. It’s not about winning or losing but how you play the game….

 

Waris Shah’s Love Story
Sadia Dehlvi

Waris Shah gave it the classical form. Heer became a powerful commentary on the social, cultural and religious customs of the times the two lovers lived in. The verses of Heer are short and have been interpreted in a mystical sense. “Our soul is the tragic heroine Heer, Our body is the lover Ranjha, Our spiritual preceptor is the yogi Balmath, and the five helpful saints are our five senses, who support us in our adventures dread. Truth is our judge.”...

 
Babri Masjid: Opportunity for Muslims
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

Babri Masjid: Opportunity for Muslims
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

Muslims have gone through a traumatic period in the last several years. They have spent a lot of time in introspection. They have shown great wisdom and maturity in fending off severe and very brazen provocations. One hopes that it is this maturity that is now beginning to be reflected....

This brings me to my main plea—forgiveness. Forgiveness is the essence of both the Muslim and Hindu spiritual traditions. It is the only way out of the vicious and very debilitating grip of bad karma. It is our belief that one has to always pay individual or collective karmic debts in this or any subsequent incarnations or on the Day of Judgement. Both Hindu and Muslim spiritual traditions consider God as the greatest teacher, this world a great school, the events that involve us in this mayajaal (illusionary world) as messages.

What could this Great Teacher be teaching us in this section of the school through the great Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi drama? Perhaps the all-important lesson of forgiveness. It may take us years, decades, centuries or millennia to learn this lesson. But learn we will. There is no escaping. God is a very determined teacher. We have the option to learn the lesson now. Let us exercise it.

Super Storm Sandy and God’s Wrath
Ishtiaq Ahmed

Every time death and destruction result after the ‘normal’ weather pattern is disrupted and hurricanes, typhoons and storms occur or vigorous seismic activity takes place that results in earthquakes and tsunamis, our clerics and even many professionals and intelligentsia describe them as proof of God Almighty inflicting punishment and pain on humanity gone astray. Once upon a time, epidemics such as the plague and smallpox were considered scourges of God who wanted to chastise human beings....

Own Code of Ethics: Ravanayana
Anand Neelakantan

Ravana lived his life according to the tenets of Jabali. Though a devout Shiva Bhakta, he never tried to imitate the ascetic lifestyle of his favourite God. He grabbed life with his twenty arms and drank the nectar of pleasure with his ten mouths. Ravana was someone who lived life fully. Unlike Sri Rama, he had no reverence for his parents. Though a Brahmin, he did not offer any special privileges for Brahmins in his kingdom....

Life Is a Tightrope Walk
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Life Is a Tightrope Walk
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The word ‘tightrope walk’ was initially coined for an act of derring-do entertainment, that is, a tightrope is a tightly stretched wire or rope fixed high above the ground on which someone walks across in order to entertain people. But the spirit of the tightrope walk, that is, maintaining a balance between two opposites, is a great principle in real life….

 

Unbearable Lightness of God
Yogi Ashwini

When the whole world was living in jungles and leading a nomadic life of hunting and gathering, people living in this part of the planet had developed a highly evolved culture. Their thought process was so unique that it encompassed within it, entire creation; there was no aspect of the physical as well as the spiritual world that was left unattended and un-detailed....

The Quran carried the concept of voluntary giving to an obligatory tax. Called Zakat, it is meant for the poor, the destitute, those whose hearts are to be reconciled, to free those in bondage and those in debt, for helping the stranded wayfarer and to serve God’s purposes. The Gita, too, has stipulated that the gift should be given in the belief that it is duty, that is, it must be given. The Quran also stipulates that the Zakat should be given at a fixed rate on all your assets, your wealth, both visible and otherwise....

With more and more people of lesser dedication than its founders and their immediate clan, following, the atmosphere and environment, in which the rituals took place, became more mundane and intermingled with materialistic concerns. That Allah has stated in His Holy Word, that it is not the blood and flesh of the sacrificial animals that reaches Him, but rather the spirit of those, who offer the sacrifice....

Introspection Can Take the Muslim World out of the Woods
Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam

The need of the hour for the Muslim world is introspection.... Much of the world is cursing the religion, Islam, which has been an abode of peace, brotherhood and equality. The religion which was revealed to unite the whole world, irrespective of religion, region, colour or creed has divided Muslims themselves even further into sects, while their tribal, ethnic, linguistic, racial, regional and other divisions continue to hold sway as before….

The Blessings Of Gratitude: One Who Does Not Thank People Does Not Thank God
Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam

·        The Prophet says: 'Whoever does not thank people (for their favour) has not thanked Allah (properly), Mighty and Glorious is He!' (Musnad Ahmad, Sunan At-Tirmidhî)

Some among us, the 21st century Muslims, consider being ‘thankful’ to our parents, employers, subordinates, kids, neighbours and last but not the least, servants hurtful to our self esteem and dignity. We are prone to take it as our right that they serve.

Durga: The Universal Shakti
Goddess Durga

A Yiddish proverb goes: ‘A mother hears what the child does not say.’ This is demonstrated by the universal Mother, Devi Durga. For instance, after the dreaded Mahishasura is felled by her, she asks the gods to tell her what they desire of her. The gods respond in gratitude that since the demons have been slain by her everything has been accomplished. ‘If a boon is to be granted to us by you, O Maheshwari...

 

Limitations of Binary Thought
Tammy Swofford

We are all familiar with binary thought. Issues come down to right or wrong, do or die, yes and no. “If it is Friday, it is fish for dinner” (Catholics). “If it is adultery, there must be stoning” (Taliban). “If my son brings home a low test score there will be a beating” (A father). We rarely explore our thoughts beyond the black and white of things. And because of it, we miss out on the greatest opportunities to bless others through the gift of our own humanity....

The Prophet, Messenger of Peace
Sadia Dehlvi

Muslims model their entire life around the life of their beloved Prophet. Mercy, peace and compassion are the foundations of the Prophetic Message. Muhammad famously said, ‘The best of Islam is to feed the hungry, and offer (salaams) blessings of peace to those who you know and those who you do not know’. He reminded people that, ‘All of mankind belongs to God’s family’....

Rethinking Religiousness: Belief versus Knowledge
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

The more I think about the supremacism that many religionists champion because of their belief in the superiority of their respective religions, the more downright absurd I think such belief to be. In fact, I find the very notion of religious belief itself to be deeply problematic. It is, so I think, the fundamental cause of inter-religious conflicts that continue to rage in many parts of the world even today.....

Importance of Knowledge in Islam
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Importance of Knowledge in Islam
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

The first message of Islam, as was revealed to Muhammad, was not to offer salah (pray), nor to fast in the month of Ramadan, nor to give Zakat, nor to go to Hajj; it was to read, to gain knowledge, not just religious or Islamic knowledge but simply knowledge. In Islam, it is compulsory for every man and woman to gain knowledge. It is said that a dower of teaching a verse of the Holy Quran is equal to a mountain of gold!...

Competing Egos and Communal Conflicts
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Competing Egos and Communal Conflicts
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

The amazing thing about it is that almost adherents of all religions and ideologies, almost all members of all religious communities and ideological groups, are equally convinced that their respective religions or ideologies are the best of all! But this is hardly surprising if you realise that it is just their egos at work here, which impel them to think in this way....

The Power of Belief: You Become What You Believe In
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Scholars have devised several ways to categorise different religions—sorting them into different types on the basis, for instance, of the number of supernatural beings they revere, the historical periods in which they emerged, the regions in which their founders were born, and so on. Another interesting way to classify various religions is according to the personality-types of the deities or other important figures that they are centred on. These figures can be regarded as vengeful, spiteful beings, easily provoked to anger, grim and fierce….

A Biased Mind Cannot Grasp Reality
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

A Biased Mind Cannot Grasp Reality
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I always say that every person on this earth has the freedom to practice or not practice religion. It is all right to do either. But once you accept religion, it is extremely important to be able to focus your mind on it and sincerely practice the teachings in your daily life. All of us can see that we tend to indulge in religious favouritism by saying, "I belong to this or that religion", rather than making effort to control our agitated minds. This misuse of religion, due to our disturbed minds, also sometimes creates problems....

Saraswati: The Lost River
Michel Danino

…the first scholar to propose that the Ghaggar-Saraswati combine was the relic of the Vedic Saraswati was the French geographer Louis Vivien de Saint-Martin, who authored in 1855 a massive Geography of India’s North-West According to the Vedic Hymns. Subsequently, nearly all Indologists, from Max Müller to Monier-Williams or Macdonell (and later Louis Renou) accepted this thesis. Geologists such as RD Oldham (1886) joined in, followed by geographers such as the Indian Shams ul Islam Siddiqi (1944) or the German Herbert Wilhelmy (1969)….

 

Dua Defines Us and Our Relationship with Allah
Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam

Dua defines us & our relationship with Allah جل جلاله - We ask and He gives. It is all because of Allah Kareem’s accepting our prayers that we are so beautiful, intelligent, wise and prosperous, to reach to the skies. It is the benevolence of Allah Kareem that He Himself calls us, “Is there anyone who is asking of Me, so I may grant his request?”...

Attempting to Solve a Seemingly Insoluble Question
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

The more you think about some questions in the hope of solving them, the more insoluble they seem to become. One such question, which you must certainly have agonised about if you really seek a compelling answer to it, is: Is there at all any rational way in which one can decide which, if any, of the many competitors in the global religious market represents the Absolute Truth?...

Quest for the King Within
Sadia Dehlvi

A wealthy merchant, Attar took to the mystic path following a visit by a mystic to his shop who asked Attar how he would die with all the wealth that surrounded him. An angered Attar told him that he would die the same way as him. The mystic said he owned nothing except his cloak and begging bowl, lay down, uttered the name of God and died....

Remember, Everything Is Temporary
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Remember,  Everything Is Temporary
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Ernest Shackleton is best known for his expeditions to Antarctica. On his third expedition, he faced a very serious situation when his ship sank. He and his group of twenty-seven men were literally stranded on ice, for they were drifting aimlessly in the wild southern seas. Apparently, they had no hope of survival....

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